Maze Runner: The Death Cure deviates from the book and creates a new story entirely dependent on lengthy action sequences.
Following the events of The Scorch Trials, Maze Runner: The Death Cure picks up with Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends from the Right Arm rebellion trying to save Minho (Ki Hong Lee), along with the other children and teenagers who are immune to the Flare virus, from WKCD before leaving to find a safe haven away from the disease.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure creates a story almost entirely different from James Dashner’s novel on which it is based. It hits all of the most important character moments, but restructures them through this new narrative.
Ultimately, this story is much better fitted to the screen than that of the book. However, The Death Cure sacrifices a compelling story arc and character development for near-constant excitement. Thankfully, the action sequences are well enough executed to maintain a strong energy throughout the film.
There really is no story in The Death Cure. Instead, there is just one single task – the rescue of Minho – that must be completed. The first two hours of this nearly two-and-a-half-hour film feels like it would be just the first act of any other action film.
In the scheme of things, it is a relatively inconsequential task. It really should not be the driving force of a film such as this, and especially not the plot for the concluding chapter of the series. Everything else that happens in the story to wrap up the film is caused by forces outside of the lead characters, which is especially strange for a dystopian young-adult series such as this.
The Death Cure is essentially strung together by multiple intricate action sequences, which are all executed incredibly well. This is accomplished in part by stylistic cinematography that encompasses the chaotic nature of the scene, but does not actually feel chaotic.
The story is fabricated to maximize the amount of action sequences, and it does so in a way that makes each of these sequences feel unique both visually and story wise. The Death Cure’s story revolves around these action scenes, so instead of feeling long and pointless, they actually feel energized, and rarely tend to drag on longer than necessary. Unfortunately, the characters never actually feel like they are in danger in some of these scenes, but they are nonetheless fun to watch.
There is little time in The Death Cure dedicated to character development, because the characters are all so busy running around in the film. The emotional connections between characters rely heavily on developments from the prior movies, but all around, the performances are strong enough to make it work.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is not really a fulfilling experience, but it is fun. There is little story and character to ground the film, but the action scenes are strong enough to distract from that. The film really has no business running for almost two and a half hours, and while it could have been cut down a great deal, it rarely ever lags.