The Maze Runner series has been the best of the post-Hunger Games cash-in flicks, and a lot of that has to do with director Wes Ball. His sense of style, propulsion, and willingness to push the boundaries of PG-13 action has given these films a ton of flavor.
In the final installment, The Death Cure, Ball provides fans with not only the best entry in the series but also a loud and proud statement of his extreme talent as a blockbuster filmmaker.
A Gifted Storyteller
Ball’s approach to action is always engrossing and impacting. That’s showcased with an opening train sequence that is genuinely thrilling. Even if you know nothing about the characters or plot, the opening scene hooks you in with dynamic editing and exciting action. And, Ball never shies away from the harsher aspects of the story and making things hurt.
To that point, there is a surprising amount of affecting horror in the franchise, and The Death Cure takes that one step further in some surprising ways. Walton Goggins plays a character named Lawrence who has been disfigured due to the Flare virus, and it’s icky in a way you don’t see in a lot of YA movies. If not for the mandate of a PG-13 rating, I could see this movie being a gory and disturbing treat. Even then, Ball takes that harsh potential right up to the edge. It’s pretty awesome.
Good Characters, Familiar World
The movie does have some issues. It’s overlong like a lot of final entry films — looking at you, Return of the King — and the larger world of the Maze Runner isn’t as compelling as its initial mystery premise. The standard dystopian setting doesn’t have a whole lot of unique twists to it. Ruined cities, zombies, revolutionary forces fighting some overbearing corporate entity. It all feels pretty par for the course. It’s executed well but it’s not a whole lot we haven’t seen or read before.
But, the movie is propped up by a solid cast who keep you engaged. Considering how intense the film gets both physically and emotionally, the younger actors do a commendable job at selling us on their motivations and reactions.
The Death Cure also has a great understanding of momentum. It’s never boring even when it does decide to slow things down. Yes, the overall length is a bit much but at least the movie doesn’t feel like a drag. A few scenes could be trimmed or excised but it’s nothing so egregious that it jeopardizes the big picture.
Is Maze Runner: The Death Cure Good?
It’s a bombastic blast that sends the series off on a high note. Fans should enjoy it and regular viewers of action/sci-fi/horror will find a lot to like as well.
And the whole time I was watching it, I thought, “Man, Wes Ball should direct an Alien film.” He has a great sense of scope and a secret nastiness that the Maze Runner films hint at. This trilogy has proven he’s got a steady hand when it comes to balancing action, sci-fi, and horror with both small and large scale stories. If given the chance (and a good script), I think his particular talents could fit well into the Alien franchise.
He’s already working over at Fox. Why not?