As I struggled to find a movie to watch over summer break, I ran into an old franchise that I had previously forgotten about due to its not-so-impressive sequel back in 2015. The Maze Runner franchise had brought the last piece of the trilogy into the cinemas, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” on January 26, 2018, and my busy schedule had somehow kept this piece of information far from my attention. After an intense 142 minutes of action and thrill, I was left more satisfied than I had first expected (although there was significantly more death than any cure).
The plot begins with Thomas (portrayed by Dylan O’Brian) and his friends on a train chase in order to save their friend, Minho (portrayed by Kihong Lee), who had fallen into the grasps of WCKD in the previous movie. However, when they do manage to steal one wagon from WCKD’s train, they are disappointed to find out that they have actually stolen the wrong wagon. Thomas decides that he won’t give up. After the leader of the Right Arm, Vince, refuses to cooperate, Thomas attempts to leave secretly in the middle of the night to rescue Minho once and for all. To Thomas’ surprise, Newt (Thomas Brodie Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden) are already prepared to help Thomas through thick and thin. Through the help of Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar), the crew finally reach the Last City, where Minho is presumably held captive. The audience is then shown the events occurring within the walls of the Last City, which are less than pleasant. Minho desperately clings onto sanity while going through an excessive amount of experimentation on his fatigued body. This research and experimentation on Minho are lead by none other than one of his most trusted friends and “traitor”, Theresa (Kaya Scodelario), whose main motivation for joining WCKD has not waned. She tries any means possible to find a cure to heal those infected by the Flare, “a man-made disease, which slowly eats away at the brain, eventually turning its victims into bloodthirsty and irrational humans who consider cannibalism an everyday objective”, but all her work is in vain. Thomas’ thoughts are befuddled once again, as he learns of Newt’s infection of the Flare and the necessary manipulation of Theresa in order to get past the security system of the city. One question lingers in the air for the rest of the movie “Can Thomas save those most precious to him?”.
Personally, the best scene was the opening sequence, which the actors themselves have commented on in interviews and press meetings. The train chase scene absorbed the fans back to the storyline after a two-year wait. The scene was lead on brilliantly by Dylan O’Brian’s dynamic acting, and we were reintroduced to all of the main characters. What more could an amazing scene entail? Another scene, which appealed more for the emotional aspect of the movie, was the “Don’t Lie to Me” scene. This scene occurred after Thomas and Newt entered the Last City for the first time. While looking for ways into the research facility, someone suggested that they should have Theresa help them. Thomas silently disagreed. Seeing this, Newt confronted him about it, angered that Thomas was still thinking about Theresa when Minho’s life was on the line. After Thomas kept dodging Newt’s questions, Newt grabbed Thomas’ collars, inches away from his face, and yelled: “Don’t lie to me”. I was really content that there was tension and eventual conflict between these two friends, as their loyalty to each other sometimes felt too good to be true. This scene made the two seem much more human and complex than a simple “protagonist and best friend” or “hero and sidekick”.
One limitation that was prevalent throughout the movie was the fact that a lot was taken out of the book it was based on. This isn’t news to many of the new dystopian YA movies that have appeared today. However, it was still very disappointing to see scenes such as Newt’s backstory being scrapped from the movie due to its runtime. This made Newt’s arc significantly less impactful and emotional than it could have been.
It was through this movie that we could see how much both the characters and actors matured. The gladers, who had always run away from obstacles and WCKD, fought back and ran face first into danger. The actors, on the other hand, worked with incredibly difficult stunts. Although there was a break between the shooting of the movie, due to Dylan O’Brian’s accident on set, the actors still continued to work diligently to ensure its success. And while many book fans were left forlorn or mourned the loss of the main characters, the Death Cure was the one that outshone its two predecessors. After doing excessive amounts of research and analysis, I conclude, that this, indeed, deserves a title as ‘the Cure’ of this franchise.