“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” appropriately rounds out trilogy

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“Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” released in theaters on Jan. 28, 2018, wraps up the Maze Runner film trilogy. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

Hope Schreiner
CONTRIBUTOR

Three years and a couple of production delays later, “Maze Runner” fans finally get the long-awaited conclusion to the trilogy. Building on the relative success of the previous two installments, the final film, “The Death Cure,” picks up a few months after the last one end-ed. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends are on a quest to rescue their friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee) from his captors in the Last City.

The opening scene essentially sums up the entirety of this film: lengthy and action packed. Opening with an intense cartrainair chase catapults the viewer into the world without giving them time to think about where they are or what is happening, but this is typical of modern day action films.

Since they are so vastly different from one another, it’s not practical to compare the “Maze Runner” films to the books. That being said, this franchise has definitely set itself apart from other young adult dystopia of its time. While it deals with similar themes such as friendship and heroism, it also delves into darker topics including death, sacrifice and sanity.

There are a few things that this film does particularly well, the first being the visual effects, or CGI. Along with the frightening creatures seen in the previous films (Grievers), there are also beautiful landscape shots of the ruined world that could not be achieved without computer technology. It is clear that a lot of attention was placed on the effects in this film because they turned out stunning.

Major props have to be given to director Wes Ball for keeping this franchise from falling apart. His genius directorial eye is what creates such spectacularly poignant moments and expertly crafted action sequences. Some say these films were not worthy of his talents, but they helped put his name out there, and there is no doubt that he will go on to direct bigger and better things.

Another thing this film excels in is bringing together an incredibly talented cast. O’Brien perfectly captures the emotion that the author of the books, James Dashner, had intended for his protagonist Thomas. Alongside him is the brilliantly nonchalant Thomas Brodie-Sangster who plays Thomas’ best friend and right-hand man, Newt. Sangster and O’Brien bring these characters to life, of-ten without having to say a word. All it takes is a few shared glances to understand the nature of Newt and Thomas’ relationship, and the actors do a phenomenal job at creating those intimate moments.

There are a few cliché aspects of this film that detract from its overall quality, but even these can be brushed off—for lack of a better term—as typical young adult tropes. For example, Thomas is willing to die to save his friends, even if that means sacrificing other innocent people in the process.

Then there is the concept of the enemy who just won’t die and the hero who narrowly escapes death time and time again. These are characteristics of young adult film and literature, which doesn’t necessarily excuse them, but it allows viewers to understand why certain things are the way they are.

This is a film made for the fans. While the average audience may not appreciate it for what it is, fans will enjoy this film as a satisfying and nostalgic ending to a cherished trilogy. Perhaps it was a bit too long (two hours and 22 minutes to be exact), but it pleasantly wraps up each character’s story line and leaves fans with a few tears in their eyes and a warm feeling of nostalgia in their hearts.

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