I’ve been confused by this franchise since the original film and Maze Runner: The Death Cure didn’t really resolve any of that for me.
This trilogy may in many ways, be a snapshot of a possible post-apocalyptic future. I mean come on, there’s a flu currently going around now that’s killing people.
A virus that zombifies you doesn’t really feel as unlikely anymore. So, you’d think that fact would make sustaining an emotional connection to the characters would be easier.
All the elements are present and the ensemble cast is solid. But something keeps this film from coming together to be an edge-of-your-seat, edgy action adventure.
But the film(s) don’t hold a challenging story together. It always feels like no one paid as much attention to the script as its brilliant cinematography and set designs. It looks fantastic, starts with a bang then meanders about taking not a single storytelling risk. I blame the haphazard way character development happens.
This group stays stupid far longer than is acceptable. People hide things from each other, they don’t ask enough questions before trusting people and they don’t think anything through. It becomes painful to watch them repeatedly make the immature decision. After a while, it just becomes difficult particularly when the pace drags through the second act. Every single time I thought the slow down would lead to character growth or a realization the plot lurches in a new direction.
Unfortunately, the hallmark of this finale is big action and a (literally) explosive climax with perpetually superficial story progression. Nothing is a surprise, not even the big reveal (if you don’t figure it out early it’s because you’re exhausted watching them never be smarter than when they were in the original maze).
Once the opening levels out, there’s little to distract from the fact the plot barely skims the surface of the massive world-building (and emotional buildup) of the previous films.
Maze Runner: Death Cure is a better finale that I thought it’d be. But, when there’s a book series of nonstop action and fully emotionally developed characters to draw on, “better than expected” isn’t really saying too much.
Ultimately, Maze Runner: Death Cure asks for an emotional investment it just doesn’t earn.