Maze Runner: The Death Cure (6.5 out of 10)
“You’re so close to the truth. Don’t you want to know why this all happened?”
In my experience, one key aspect of almost every great film I’ve seen is that it is memorable. No matter what the genre is, if the film has me thinking about it for minutes, hours, and even days after seeing it, the odds are it was a great film, at least in my eyes. Recent films such as Interstellar, Blade Runner 2049, and Predestination are prime examples for me. But, having said that, there are some exceptions. For example, 2012’s Prometheus had me thinking about it quite often after seeing it, but it’s a film that has also left me with plenty of mixed feelings about it. Maybe because it’s so closely tied into the Alien series (and acts as a prequel of sorts to those films), it had me pondering its many ideas and possibilities for quite awhile afterward, yet it also left me frustrated with what I felt were its numerous failings. On the other hand, there are films like the first live-action Transformers that I thought was really fun, solid escapist entertainment, but I didn’t think one iota about it after leaving the cinema.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure seems to be one that will fall more into the latter category. As the third film entry of the “Young-Adult (YA) fiction series, Death Cure provides plenty of solid action and entertainment, some good performances, emotional moments (especially near the end), and a mostly nice, albeit far too long wrap-up to the series. But, much like the first two in the series, it’s a film that I haven’t given one though about since I saw it. Despite the good performances, I didn’t care that much about the characters, and didn’t feel very invested in them (although I did a bit more toward the end). Dylan O’Brien does a solid job in the lead role, and the other actors are mostly fine as well, but maybe it’s just a symptom of being inundated with so many different YA film franchises (Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.) over the last decade, with different settings and plots but carbon copy characters, that has led me to grow a bit detached from them. Similarly, the action scenes are handled well (with one fairly elaborate scenario involving a bus), but I found myself, much like with the characters, not very engaged with them either.
That’s not to say, of course, that I don’t recommend seeing The Death Cure. Despite my criticisms, it may actually be my favorite of the series, at least on par with the first one, and concludes the trilogy on a solid note. It also offers a few subtle homages to the classic 1986 film Aliens, which was a very unexpected but pleasant surprise. Really, if you’re looking for solid, escapist entertainment, you could do a lot worse than The Death Cure. But, if you’re looking for a film to stick with you and make you think about it long after it is over, you may want to save those memory banks for a different film. I give Maze Runner: The Death Cure a 6.5 out of 10.
- Ryan Zeid