4 years since Wes Ball brought us The Maze Runner, the first in a new YA trilogy based on the hit novels and the franchise is finally drawing to a close with the arrival of the final film, Maze Runner: The Death Cure.

Picking up 6 months after The Scorch Trials, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and his friends set out to rescue Minho (Ki Hong Lee) from WCKD's captivity, which leads them to the Last City - the organisation's highly secure base of operations. But with the Flare plague still loose and spreading like wildfire, WCKD's desperation to find a cure increases, making them a more dangerous threat than ever. And with Thomas and his friends entering the Last City, they have a tough fight ahead of them to bring WCKD down once and for all. The film opens with a dazzling, visceral rescue sequence as Thomas and his resistance take out a WCKD carrier in an attempt to save all of the captured Immune children on-board - in one of the two freighters: Minho. It's reminiscent of Mad Max in design but in execution too; it's action-packed and intense and gorgeously directed. The Maze Runner franchise has always brought its A-game when it comes to action and The Death Cure is no exception, perhaps the most action-packed and insane of the trilogy. It's a superb sequence and the film is full of such similarly snappy, gripping scenes but it's just joining the dots in-between them in which the film falters.
Both the first and second films in this franchise were - for better or worse; the former in case of the first and the latter for The Scorch Trials - simplistic in their nature. The narrative didn't boil down to much. The Death Cure is rather opposing from its predecessors in this notion, it's a clunkier, more freewheeling narrative that perhaps tries to cram a little too much into its story for its own good - the subplots are sprawling and the film is overstuffed with an abundance of characters, a lot that feel too underused and forgettable. It's also a story with an irreverence for logic and realism; it's about as over-the-top as a Fast and Furious film. Reality becomes void. It can become painfully irritating, with outlandish things just happening because the narrative it deems it appropriate so that the story can go in the direction it needs to - it's lazy writing. The screenplay here is largely the film's downfall; it's too overstuffed and convoluted and so lacks focus and the nature to keep this a taut, grounded film.

However, Ball has built up this franchise and these characters well enough to the point that we feel invested enough for this outing. It's not groundbreaking by any means, it's predictable and checks those expected YA beats. But it's executed with enough heart to make it a resonant bow. The friendships have always been at the core of these films and The Death Cure takes them in satisfying and, at times, touching ways - the Newt/Thomas dynamic, especially, sticks out as not only one of the best things about this film but this entire trilogy. The direction itself is slick and Ball really does bring his all; it's a very, very nicely executed movie. The orchestration of tone is superb and creates for some very atmospheric, claustrophobic scenes of seething tension; for a film with a runtime of 154 minutes, it doesn't feel long at all. Despite a bit of an overstuffed, over-exaggerated premise, the film always has something to do and never really stutters or pauses for a breath and it makes a valid case for clocking in at such a length. But The Maze Runner films have always been good at keeping a punchy pace. They've always been pretty entertaining. Yes, they're all flawed. Yes, The Death Cure is flawed. But it's a story that is executed with enough flourish and heart and style to make it a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying watch nonetheless and one that brings a nice conclusion to what has been one of those strongest, most consistent YA franchises in some time.

Despite a very unfocused screenplay, Maze Runner: The Death Cure is a thoroughly enjoyable and action-packed film that brings a satisfying conclusion to this solid YA trilogy.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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