Maze Runner Review: The Death Cure barely escapes the YA genres cliches
The young adult series per-say has given us perfectly fine vigor at the cinemas, as waves of lifeless yet ambitious dystopian futures are balanced between a group of 20 somethings and iniquitous governments. Unfortunately here, 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' could not find an antidote for its genre tropes, however, director Wes Ball's ingrained sense of scale and action keeps the film moving until it's prolonged "wrap up" ending. The characters yearn autonomy, the government isolated control, a formula that was at the core of YA novels turned movies just five years ago. Due to a catastrophic life threatening injury on set, the film halted production for a couple years as star Dylan O'Brien recovered forcing a release date in 2018. Making the film feel out of place as similar series' 'Hunger Games', 'Divergent', and 'Percy Jackson' feel more like past times than movements of the now(my screening had more open seats than filled). Yet Ball's film still powerfully speaks on friendships and humanity amidst endless slaughter and castigation, despite human extinction feeling more generic then mammoth.
Opening to an invigorating car chase/train heist that parallels the boisterous action in 'Mad Max Fury Roads' wasteland, we at once get Ball's brazen style of action, vast proportion, and intimate sound design that traps you in the world on screen, delivering the same tension and force in colossal action sequences as seen in the claustrophobic maze in the first installment. Scenes as captivating as this one can be found with an array of camera angles as explosions and bullets whiz by our characters as they relentlessly and redundantly come to each other's rescue. Essentially, that is all there is to this film, helpless characters being saved as the world teeters with extinction. For this reason, it can be often frustrating, and rarely are the characters given depth and buoyancy as they move to a climatic score to a film without a climax. Altogether formulating an exercise in genre that isn't much fun.
Based on the 2011 novel by James Dashner, and following the plot where it left off in 'The Scorch Trials', our protagonist is up against a power hungry organization, where he and his adolescent friends must save the world. The capacious government is Wcked, who harbors a serum that can save humanity from the disease that is turning men into flesh-eating zombies, which is lead by Dr. Janson (Aiden Gillan) and Dr. Ava Paige (Patrica Clarkson). Oddly the films tension does not arise between our lovable heroes and the over-acting villains but amidst the heroes themselves. The chemistry between Dylan O'Brien, Thomas Sangster, and Kaya Scodelario is quite remarkable, as they spar back and forth on moral inquiries and plans to find the cure. Whereas the rest of the cast of whose who and whose that of rising young talent just seem to bombard the screen with muddled sub-plots provoking us with their unwanted presence. And none of the characters or their purpose can transcend the eye-opening action sequences that unearth from integral anarchy.
It's hard to bring an external film to trial that features flying buses, zombies, and characters who can survive 200-foot drops and bullets of self seriousness, but this is a shoulda-been lighthearted action extravaganza that was not much fun. It's predictable eye candy that is more sour than sweet, and it overstays it's welcome much like the genre it inhabits. But it manages to find it's way out of its own maze of subplots and bland characters while only taking a few wrong turns. However, I would have been contempt if the metaphorical Minotaur had swallowed the Maze Runner protagonists in 'The Death Cure's' predecessor.