The YA genre of film needs to die, especially the YA dystopia films. The YA era of films is something that we have been plagued with since Twilight. A film based on a book that caught fire with the right target audience…impressionable young girls. Since then, everyone has tried to find the next YA franchise they can create 2 films and get a 2 part final film out of.
First, you had The Hunger Games which out of 4 movies only the second one was any good. Then you had The Divergent Series, a series so bad that after the third one flopped, the studio gave up on the idea of the last film. Then you have the least popular of the trio, Maze Runner. The first one came out 4 years ago and honestly, I don’t remember if this one had a big buzz around it or not. The third film of this franchise was supposed to come out a year ago, but due to an injury to the lead actor, Dylan O’Brien production was pushed back nearly a year and the film got a January release to recoup the budget. Maze Runner: The Death Cure represents the end of the YA cash grab era and Thank God it’s over.
The film begins with a scene straight out of Fast and Furious 5 with our heroes attempting a train heist to find their friend who was kidnapped at the end of the last film. The group is given an ultimatum, leave the area with a functional ship or go deep into the walls of The Last City for one last chance to save their friend. As the virus is starting to spread, a desperate race for time is underway as the last remaining survivors are on borrowed time. Not only is the virus within their walls with no cure but an angry revolution threatens the City from the outside. So what you have is a melting pot of drama that culminates in one epic night…and that is the most coherent explanation of this story that you will get.
If you try to go back and understand how we got to this point, it’s rather confusing. I mean, if the point of this was to find a cure for a deadly virus wiping out the planet then what was the point of putting kids in a death maze in the first place? Seems like there was a more practical way of doing this. One thing that really bothered me here was the blatant plot convenience. There would be a long chase scene going on and the second our heroes are cornered, someone who was randomly waiting at that exact location comes outta nowhere to save the day, and this happened at least 4 times. Someone is always at the exact right spot at exactly the right time when hundreds of things could have gone wrong along the way. It really took me out of the film at times.
However, I can’t say I was really into the film because about 90 minutes in, you realize the film is just boring. Especially the 3rd act that just drags…and drags…and drags. Now part of this is my fault because I was misled by the runtime which I was told by Rotten Tomatoes was only 1 hour and 50 minutes…turns out it is actually 2 hours and 25 minutes, so 40 minutes before the ending, I was geared for it to end and it never did. The reason this movie dragged so badly is that they tried to squeeze in an escape plot with a ‘find a cure’ plot, AND a revolution plot all in the 3rd act. So unless you are really sucked in by the story, you are watching stuff happen in front of you that is hard to follow and harder to care for.
The reason I hate these YA franchises is that they are all the same. When you roll out The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner. Basically what you get is a group of young people being oppressed by a ruling élite class in a dystopian setting. Then the group of young people organizes a revolution against the élite which concludes with a full-on revolutionary battle against classism (Unless you are Divergent of course because you didn’t get to end your series). One way or another it’s all the same thing and that’s exactly why this genre faded out and interest in it is almost non-existent in 2018.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is a brutally long adventure and will have you both upset and glad that this is it for the YA era. If you love clichés and chases that end with someone happening to be at the right spot at the right time, this is your movie. If not, Maze Runner is a series that was better off just being ONE movie, not three.