The teen angst book to movie subgenre of filmmaking seems to be nearing its end as a whole. With fewer and fewer creations making their way to the big screen, the subgenre for prepubescent girls appears to be nearing its death, finally. Most of these franchises have been far worse than subpar with that of the “Twilight” series being a perfect example of these atrocious adaptations, "Fifty Shades" being another, and that of the “Divergent” series being relegated to a TV movie that we’ll most likely never see. It hasn’t been all bad though, “The Hunger Games” franchise was shockingly good, and “The Maze Runner” series hasn’t been offensively bad just yet, and neither was its finale.
“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is the proverbial end to a subgenre of filmmaking and a literal ending to a story that has felt dead for a while now. The final story centers around Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) attempting to save the remainder of his friends so that they can escape to a distant Eden, but he learns the truth behind his uniqueness, a reality that will change everything. Did I sell you a ticket yet? If not, then this franchise probably hasn’t peaked your interest since its inception in 2014. The honest truth behind this film, at least for me, is that none of these films have gotten close to reaching the slumps that its generic brother and sisters have in years past. In fact, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that these films were slightly worth the purchase of a ticket on each occasion, including the final film itself.
First off, if you haven’t already noticed, I don’t necessarily dislike this franchise. “The Maze Runner” was an acceptable and at times enthralling thriller that had a bright future ahead of it, but “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” had some noticeable flaws in both its storytelling and the formatting of its story. The problem I have found that interlinks these films together, including its newly born counterpart, is the overwhelment of a story that has bitten off far too much than it is able to chew. Each one of these stories attempt to dissertate a complex philosophical subject matter with the first one being that of the philosophy of survival of the fittest. Who is worthy of living and who is not, a storyline that rears its head in “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” once again, and the other is the complex discussion of good intentions in whether friendships matter more than life itself. Another theme that recurs in the finale that acts like another exodus film, which is becoming a common trend of today, but the finale attempts to dissect the old philosophy of one’s life versus many. In the words of Mr.Spock “Does the need of many outweigh the few?”
According to “Maze Runner: The Death Cure:” sort of. It's suiting that a franchise that toes the line between the sides of quality is the same way with its thematical tone. Enough with the precursors though, the film itself is up for discussion, and overall I would say its fine and equivalent to its last entry. The story is a bit unbalanced in its formatting. The moments are what makes this film watchable, but unlike “Star Wars” or a “Marvel” film, the moments are not interlinked with a digestible story that makes the moments worth the wait. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” suffers from doing the one thing that all films should achieve at in telling an actual story. That’s not to say there isn’t a story to be found between the bombastic explosions and adventurish visuals, but the story you do find is a rehash of what we’ve seen before, and a poor one at that.
The filmmaking itself is amateur. There are a few ways to tackle it, you can either destroy it for all the things that its production staff got wrong, which is quite a few things, or you can focus on the things they did well, or at least tried to do well. I am an optimist kind of person, so I am going to tackle the latter by stating that the action is fantastic for the most part. Sure the handheld style can become a bit disorienting at times, but the overall depiction of excitement does just that, and provides more than a few moments of sheer adventure. The blockbuster visuals can be found throughout the third act, and though it would be easier to rip this film to shreds for its noticeable moments of flawed visual effects and precarious editing, Wes Ball does an adequate job in making a watchable blockbuster.
The screenplay lands on the opposite sides of the spectrum for me though, because like most of the books/movies fail to achieve at accomplishing, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” struggles at providing an accurate and balanced dissection at its heavy themes. The main one being the same one that the franchise has been stuck with since its inception in that of the endlessly perplexing question of “do the needs of many outweigh the few?” It’s an unanswerable question, but a good story could provide a suitable answer to both sides of the equation in an emotional format. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” much like its familiar counterparts fails at doing just that, but the character moments attempt to brush it all off, and they nearly succeed, because in all reality the glue that holds this franchise together is the talent of its young cast.
Dylan O’Brien steals the show once again and continues to catch my eye as an actor that is deserving of an opportunity. He has the raw talent, but he needs the right director to push him to new heights. Thomas Brodie-Sangster is far better than his last appearance in the franchise, and Rosa Salazar shines as an underutilized talent. Most of the actors are relegated to plot devices, but even then they make their voices heard, and their presence felt in this unique film.
Unique film? Yes, I said that correctly because in all reality this whole franchise is unique. Not in a good way necessarily, but not in a bad way either, which is what makes it such a unique form of discussion for myself. If your looking for the big headline of this review, then look no further because if your not an invested fan in these characters then this film isn’t for you, but if you belove these books and their big screen adaptation then strap in for an emotional ride. I fall in the middle, and my grade reflects just that, because “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” provides a satisfactory ending to one of the most “meh” franchises to ever be conceived for the cinema.