A-Maze-ing action can't save cliche tale
For the last half of this decade, I have been blessed with the avoidance of a particular film series called The Maze Runner. When The Maze Runner came out, I ran the other way. When The Scorch Trials blazed into cinemas, the flames did not reach me. However, like many things we run from, the series has caught up to me, with this the third instalment, The Death Cure.
The movie is the thrilling and emotional conclusion to the post-apocalyptic young-adult adventure story. As a newcomer to the series, I expected to find many of the trappings stories of this type face. While the film sees yet another set of glum-faced adults playing teenagers under the control of the evil, yet perfectly groomed, adults of the world, it does have a few moments of genuine ingenuity.
The first of these is within the film's first 15 minutes. Here, you have the first of many impressive and astounding set pieces. I would say there are a good four or five extended action sequences that are nothing short of impeccable. They're filled with tension, expert pacing, and a real sense of momentum. For these sequences alone, the movie feels fresh and stands out among the crowd.
What holds the film back, however, is just how beholden it is to the tropes that it inevitably makes use of. There are very few clichÈs in the book that The Death Cure won't exercise. It would be easier to accept this if the story wasn't so predictable and uninspired, feeling like a retread of films that did it better. Top it off with the fact that these characters are so extremely one-dimensional, you essentially are bored throughout most of the film's two and a half-hour run time.
What you have here is a movie that is mostly good, with top-notch action not expected from a series on its third entry. It simply shouldn't be this inventive. To put it into perspective, I don't think I've seen action this well done since The Dark Knight. That may be hyperbolic, but considering that the rest of the movie is a wash, I'm willing to gush about its bright spots.