Maze Runner: The Death Cure, 2018
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Maze Runner: The Death Cure sees Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his spirited crew of revolutionaries back in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, infested with zombies, for the third and final installment of the dystopian teen series. The evil organisation WCKD—which uses "special" kids as lab-rats so to find a cure for a spreading virus—are as desperate as ever to find a cure this time around. The movie is charged with action and high emotion. The stakes are higher than expectations, and I guess in this case it's always a good idea to keep expectations regulated.
The movie opens with quite a long cold-open that shamelessly borrows from movies such as the Mission: Impossibles and Mad Maxs. Thomas and his crew of impassioned rogues commit to quite a few rescue missions, which I must admit are a thrill to watch despite the over-action throughout the film. Being a final installment to a franchise doesn't necessarily have to mean fast-pacedness all in the name of a grand closing. The Death Cure suffocates itself with all the unnecessary action and tension in every other scene. The dramatic music doesn't help either; no matter how glorious both the score and the sound design sound. It's always a good idea to let the audience catch a breath.
I will say though that this movie is no different from many renowned blockbusters, in the sense that it serves action as emotionally manipulative and mentally compelling as any other. Were this film in a different universe, say the MCU, or made by Disney, it would've been a lot more well-recieved by both critics (who mostly influence fans) and fans than it is currently.
This is a movie for die-hard fans who've been with the Maze Runner series since it's 2014 debut, and of course for those fan-girls/boys who've followed the book series. Not to say that it is mostly bad, but you (speaking for myself) recieve it a little bit better if you've grown to adore the characters- wanting to see them through to their victory against the evil co-operation that has tormented them more than the disease that's at the centre of all this chaos. It's not strong on character. The impressive and diverse cast suffers underdevelopment, yet somehow the movie manages to be engaging enough to get through.
With a production design as big and fancy as that, the movie is an experience. From fancy lighting to intriguing consume designs, there's always something to look at in awe. The story itself, though, falls ever short and feels repetitive. Nothing new or at least surprising is introduced that we already hadn't seen in the previous installments, or didn't have much discernment to predict. It's over-explanatory, too. It's bad practice to undermine the audience, no matter the age of the targeted audience. It's an all-round pumped-up ride though- like being on a weird drug for a little time and it's a good enough high while it lasts.
I have to say, Thomas as a prized pony has the most disappointing character arc and development I've personally seen in these type of movies. Not even Katniss is this badly developed and executed. Besides the fact that he's a complete bore, he has no true sense of purpose- as the narrative tries to convince us he does- and merely suffers from extreme privilege. He's the lead, I get it, but give us a break! And that love story between him and the girl who betrayed the rogues? Simply chunder-inspiring type of bad writing.
For the fancy production design, the flashy costumes and the natural flare of the cast while they prance around trying to bring down the evil organisation they have been since The Maze Runner, I'd recommend The Death Cure as a good enough watch. While it is forgettable, it is worth the ride while it lasts. It's not the final installment one would hope for for a somewhat beloved franchise, but Hunger Games: Mocking Jay—Part 2 happened if comparison means anything.
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