Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Review: Maze Runner - The Death Cure

Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Cert: 12A / 142 mins / Dir. Wes Ball / Trailer

And so, after the production team played on through injury-time*1 to accommodate its star's recovery after a filming accident, the third Maze Runner movie finally lands on our shores in an attempt to cheer me up before the end of the month. And for the very most-part, it's succeeded.

Following on from The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure sees Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and the gang trying to break into WKD headquarters, to rescue their captured friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee). Naturally the corporation's enigmatic head, Ava (Patricia Clarkson) and her heel-snapping henchman Janson (Aidan Gillen) have other ideas. Things will get messy.

Much like its predecessors, this is bloody good fun. Far above what the Young-Adult-Adventure™ format usually throws our way, thanks to a fantastic cast and a screenplay which doesn't patronise either them, their characters or the audience. It's very much a dystopian Hollywood action/thriller, of course, but there's still the feeling that (in the appropriate places) The Death Cure is a better zombie movie than most zombie movies (although it doesn't have that raw edge of The Scorch Trials). The plot shifts a back toward the 'chosen one' model for the story's conclusion, but doesn't neglect the supporting characters in doing so, and this particular installment gets very smashy-crashy in its third act (which, true to Hollywood tradition is far too long), putting slightly more emphasis on All Of The Death™ than All Of The Cure™. Additionally, the final couple of scenes are very on the nose and the film could have ended quite well without them.

But minor quibbles don't detract from a satisfying close to a pleasantly surprising trilogy; one which will have slipped under the radar of many casual film watchers by means of its YA marketing-push. The Maze Runner series may not have changed the world, but it's punching well above its weight in a crowded ring*2.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Rather than run through a list of lesser-faring teen dramas, I'll just restrict it to the first two Maze Runner movies. Because if you haven't watched those then The Death Cure will make absolutely no sense.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
If you've seen the previous chapters and enjoyed them, absolutely.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
Unless you're completing the trilogy for your shelf, you should get away with a rental.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Well I'm knocking a point off for every scene featuring Aidan Gillen where he can't remember what accent his character's supposed to have. It's as if he doesn't have significant previous with this, and allowing it here (again) indicates sloppy direction.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
I shouldn't imagine so.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is, and it's textbook.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Petty Officer Thanisson is in this, finally getting to run around polished corridors with an assault rifle.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 …is this how sport analogies work? I have no idea. As you've probably gathered. [ BACK ]

*2 See? I use a simple, well-worn boxing metaphor, then extend it to the second half of a sentence and it just sounds wrong.
[ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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