Sunday, 2 September 2018

Maze Runner: The Death Cure ★★☆☆☆

When I was dragged to the first Maze Runner film by my girlfriend back in 2014, I was filled with dread as I expected another teen shitfest. I actually thought it was surprisingly good! Interesting premise, great visuals, good performances…I was sold. The following year I watched the 2nd film and, again, enjoyed what I saw. I was actually pumped to see the conclusion! But then, lead actor Dylan O’Brien sustained injuries during the filming and we had to wait 3 whole years for the finale. This wait was not helpful – in fact, during that time the hype and anticipation fell away to nothing, and by the time The Death Cure was released, nobody – including myself – gave a shit.

Picking up where The Scorch Trials left off, The Death Cure follows Thomas as he leads the escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions that the Gladers have been asking since they arrived in the maze…

Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to get closure. The series is over. But, despite the accident being an unforeseeable and tragic event, the film’s delay in production was akin to building a coffin for the franchise. Everybody knows that a successful franchise is one that can maintain a speed and rhythm, keeping punters interested. Look at Marvel – we’ve had 18 films in 10 years. Unfortunately for everyone involved in The Maze Runner, other franchises and films of interest were released in the time between parts 2 and 3, and interest was lost. 

The film itself was ok. It was nowhere near as interesting as the first two films – no, it was an overstuffed bloated exposition-fest with very little entertainment value. The cast was on good form and the visuals were great, but it wasn’t engrossing. The first film was brilliant because knew nothing of this enigmatic maze. The second film was interesting because it began to give answers. But the third film? We’re just being given leftovers of answers and exposition, with revelations that bear no power.

And so, another franchise closes. Are Hollywood wiser for it? Probably not. They’ll keep making these tired and bloated sequels while people keep paying to see them, and that’s not going to stop any time soon. But I stress, while the film itself wasn’t great, the problems wouldn’t have been as noticeable if the hype was still there. At the end of the day, we can chalk this one up to very bad luck. If the film had been released a year after The Scorch Trials, audiences would’ve rushed in to see the ending and the hype would’ve made them blind to flaws. But coming into it 3 years later, when the first two films were largely forgotten? It was never going to have the same effect.

The Death Cure delivers closure. That’s all. There isn’t really any excitement or thrills to be had. Watching it now feels more like something we have to do, as part of a warped sense of loyalty to the story. It didn’t feel all that much like a choice. So long, Maze Runner. You had such potential.

Sam Love

Maze Runner: The Death Cure at CeX

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