The Big Picture

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Originally set to be released in February 2017, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, final chapter in the Maze Runner adaptation series of James Dashner’s YA books, is finally hitting theatres after a 3-year-long wait due to its lead actor, Dylan O’Brien, injuring himself on set during production. But although many fans have been waiting for the ultimate sequel, the timing doesn’t feel quite right anymore…

After surviving a nightmare maze full of terrifying creatures and escaping from an evil organization determined to treat them like lab rats, Thomas (O’Brien) and his friends (or what’s left of them) embark on a mission to find a cure for the deadly disease that’s been wiping out the human race called the “Flare”.

While it all sounds like the premise of a long-overdue climax, Wes Ball’s final movie in the teenage dystopian science-fiction franchise doesn’t quite offer the conclusion it deserved.

Twentieth Century Fox


Now that Maze Runner: The Death Cure is at last being released, “the public’s appetite for YA dystopia seems to have cooled,” coming at a time when “worst-case-scenario YA sci-fi series seems redundant.” In 2018, “The Maze Runner seems almost charmingly outdated,” nevertheless, it remains a “highly competent popcorn movie.”

A script that doesn’t deliver

“It’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer amount of content packed into The Maze Runner trilogy, if by nothing else.” Packed with “seemingly never-ending action” sequences, the sequel “suffers from the same too-many-climaxes ailment that affects movies much bigger and more expensive than this.”

With a “sort of B-movie-on-an-A+-budget simplicity,” the script is filled with “broad strokes and improbable getaway schemes.” What’s more, older actors (Patricia Clarkson, Aidan Gillen,…) are given dialogues that feel “so template-standard,” and the talented star Dylan O’Brien’s character “remains an irritatingly blank slate, a generic hero-type for viewers to project themselves onto.”

All in all, it feels like the movie is “stalling, down to the very last death-defying leap,” having “a hard time letting go.” Plus, “the essence of rehash,” the plot is “not quite as inventive with its set pieces” as its predecessor, more invested in “tying up loose narrative ends” than digging deeper into its morale depth.

“A grim, half-hearted farewell to this wave of young-adult dystopias.”

Best quotes from the reviews:

“Escape From New York meets Mad Max, with lab serums.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Third time’s a yawn.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“A quaint throwback to a time when audiences loved dystopian films about teens.” – David Sims, The Atlantic

“Honestly, when was the last time the climax was your favorite part of a movie, outside of the Fast and Furious franchise?” – Emily Yoshida, Vulture