The Death Cure brings to a close the Maze Runner franchise, and works as a direct sequel to The Scorch Trials. While Part 3’s cinematography and musical score make a searing impression on the senses, the film’s extended running time with too much crammed into the story for the last hurrah, ends up making it a 50-50 kind of effort. Many of its intense and heartfelt scenes of hope in a near-hopeless scenario (there are enough of these that keep you interested) are diluted by an overdose of melodrama that creeps in consistently (especially towards the end, and in the exchanges between Thomas and Teresa).
The film presents a fairly watchable plot from the outset. A fan of the series is sure to forgive the third part several of the minor glitches on display. The franchise owes its unprecedented success to TS Nowlin’s screenwriting. Even in this last instalment, it is evident that lots of decent work has gone into the realm of conceptualisation. This writing comes to the fore when Thomas reads Newt’s letter about their friendship. The dialogue, on the other hand, falters from time to time, becoming too predictable and ordinary to make a sufficient impression.
The Death Cure begins with a risky rescue operation involving Thomas, Newt, Brenda, Jorge & Co., as they attempt to ambush a train containing immune subjects being transported and used by the WCKD corporation. While fighting off WCKD’s armed combatants, they finally manage to airlift one of the train compartments, but are unable to locate their friend Minho.
After regrouping, Thomas decides to go in search of Minho alone, but is joined by some of the others. In spite of exercising great caution, they are attacked by hordes of Cranks (humans zombified by the Flare virus), and are bailed out by Brenda and Jorge at the last minute. Back at the WCKD laboratory, Minho’s blood fails to work on a Flare-infected girl. Thomas’ former lover Teresa, who betrayed them all in the quest for a cure, is one of WCKD’s leading scientists. After barely escaping the Cranks, the group is kidnapped by a small militia of masked men.
They are taken to a hideout and introduced to Lawrence, a rebel leader for the infected. As desperate times call for desperate measures, the two factions join hands. Lawrence allows some members of Thomas’ group to enter the Last City via a secret entrance. The Last City is a fortress-styled place that keeps the Cranks out due to its high walls and maximum security. Once in, their only chance to save Minho and the other immune prisoners is to kidnap Teresa and access WCKD’s lab.
Those invested in the book and the subsequent adaptations are the primary target audience for Maze Runner: The Death Cure. It may end up being an intriguing dystopian sci-fi film for a first-time viewer, surpassing other highly overrated efforts in the same vein (such as the Resident Evil series), but it would make sense to view all the previous instalments in order to better understand the continuation. Visually, Part 3 is quite stunning. The score complements the action rather well too.
On the acting front, the film is average. The cast does an okay job, but the over-ambitiousness of the story arc and direction takes away from some of the better drama scenes. The biggest failing of The Death Cure is perhaps the running time; twenty minutes too long, in my opinion. If the first two parts of the franchise had you riveted, this one must be given a fair shot. Just don’t expect to be floored, that’s all.