Maze Runner: The Death Cure - Just Enough Life for a Fitting Conclusion
- Ryan Duncan Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor
- 2018 26 Jan
EDITOR'S NOTE: Perhaps appropriately, since this particular review speaks much of endings, closure and conclusions, we at Crosswalk are both sad and excited to announce that this marks our final movie review of the traditional variety. After providing Christian-written movie reviews and Cautions lists for most theater-released films for most of this twenty-first century, Crosswalk will be taking a new approach to entertainment coverage. All that's going away is a standard review format and a commitment to cover nearly every movie Hollywood produces. What will remain is a clearer focus on informing our audience about:
- ALL faith-based films produced by Christian studios (here are the ones we're eagerly anticipating this year!)
- Reasons you might (or might not) want to take your family to see that new major studio blockbuster (as in this excellent example about The Greatest Showman)
- Listicles of recommended movies for segments of our audience (ala very popular pieces such as 10 Films to Encourage You in Dark Times, 10 Classic Movies Every Christian Teen Should Watch, or 5 Disney Movies with Hidden Christian Messages).
- But none of this content will take the form of a "review."
We can't thank you enough for your readership over the last thirteen years that most of us have been involved writing and editing these reviews. But we've learned the audience who requires standard reviews of theatrical releases is well served by several other fine sites in the Christian web space. We look forward to serving your entertainment needs in a method more suited to our strengths for years to come!
P.S. Before you go, be sure to check out our final edition of CROSSWALK.COM'S TOP 10 MOVIES OF THE YEAR. We've had a blast over the years putting this piece together, and much more so knowing this would be our final one (at least, if we ever do the project again, it'll look much different). Now, on to what you came here for today...
Though most young adult movie series tend to flame out before their final chapter, Maze Runner: The Death Cure has just enough momentum to keep audiences entertained while it ties up loose ends. It may not satisfy every fan, but this final film still gives the franchise a welcome sendoff. 3 out of 5.
Picking up where The Scorch Trials left off, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the remains of his group are desperate to rescue their friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee) from the clutches of WCKD (pronounced 'wicked'). Unfortunately, their party will need to infiltrate the last human city on earth, one where WCKD's control is absolute and where Thomas' former love interest Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) has taken refuge. Adding to the urgency is a violent plague known as the "The Scorch" which is on the verge of wiping out all of humanity. Countless lives are hanging in the balance, and soon Thomas will be forced to make the ultimate decision: Will he choose to rescue his friends, or will he risk everything to save the world?
Series like The Maze Runner have a difficult time keeping audiences invested over the course of several movies (looking at you, Divergent), but to this film's credit, there's enough suspense here to hold viewers' attention until the end. After watching so many characters get picked off in previous entries it's hard not to fret over your remaining favorites as they hurtle toward their inevitable fate. Thomas Brodie-Sangster delivers a surprisingly heartfelt performance as Newt, as does Will Porter with the character of Galley. Action peppers the narrative to keep things interesting and a few moral quandaries will tease the more philosophical viewers. Ultimately, The Death Cure serves as a decent conclusion to the series as a whole. It may not be the most exciting installment in the franchise, but it still provides enough closure for those watching.
Sadly, The Death Cure never recaptures the series' former glory for two reasons. The first is that, much like its predecessor, the film is awash with young adult/dystopian clichés. A world-ending plague, an evil corporation, an awkward love triangle, a young noble protagonist who happens to be "the chosen one;" viewers have seen these things before and The Death Cure doesn't exactly pull them off with any kind of style. Secondly, many of the core cast aren't given all that much to do. Aside from rallying his comrades at various points, O’Brien's Thomas has a fairly bland screen presence. As for Patricia Clarkson, her role could have been accomplished simply by hanging a white lab coat on a mannequin.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
Selflessness and sacrifice do play key roles in The Death Cure, particularly the idea of laying down one's life for the sake of a friend. There are a few moments of forgiveness as well, where characters who have committed grievous sins seek to atone for their mistakes. Even a little Christian imagery makes it in with paintings of the baby Jesus and a character who crosses himself during a service. Still, these moments are few in number.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence, language, and dark thematic elements
- Language/Profanity: Tw*t, Sh*t, D*mn, D*ck, Bloo*y, a middle finger.
- Sexuality/Nudity: A boy and girl kiss.
- Violence/Frightening/Intense: A nightmare sequence, car crashes, violent zombies known as Cranks infest the land, a man is hit by a car, people are shot, bombs explode, a fistfight, a mutilated face is shown, people suffer from disease, a threat to cut off fingers, tracking chips are surgically removed, people are tasered, a boy dies after being stabbed, a man is stabbed with a needle, rioting, a girl falls to her death.
Drugs/Alcohol: a woman drinks brandy, a serum is used to treat a plague.
The Bottom Line
RECOMMENDED FOR: Young Adult and dystopia fans, people wanting to see how the Maze Runner trilogy ends, people who enjoy action/adventure movies.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Families, small children, those with a low tolerance for violence, people tired of clichéd teen dramas.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure, directed by Wes Ball, opens in theaters January 26, 2018. It runs 142 minutes and stars Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Porter, Kaya Scodelario and Patricia Clarkson. Watch the trailer for Maze Runner: The Death Cure here.
Ryan Duncan is Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: January 26, 2018
Image courtesy: ©20thCenturyFox