"This is crazy, Thomas!” grizzled rebel leader Vince (Barry Pepper) yells over the rumbling motor of his off-road truck as he and the aforementioned Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) peel across dusty brushland toward the crackerjack train heist that opens Maze Runner: The Death Cure.
Things stay at that same yelling! punching! and jumping! pace for the next two-and-a-half hours in this, the final installment of the Maze Runner trilogy—the dystopian teen series that introduced a ragtag group of murdering (and murdered) teenage boys to a huge, dangerous maze in The Maze Runner (2014), pitted those boys against a desert full of angry, virus-infected zombies in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015), and concludes with the now-hardened murder-teens executing a seat-of-their-pants assault on the stronghold of scientists who have been experimenting on them!
Beyond that, there isn’t really that much to the Maze Runner movies other than (1) “Waaaah, everyone is so mean to us boys for no reason!” and (2) Go go go go go! That said, the series has grown on me over the years. The first Maze Runner did so well at the box office that subsequent installments saw their budgets ratchet up, and all that money—coupled with the retention of director Wes Ball for all three films, which is unheard of in the dystopian teen genre—has produced some slick, over-the-top, sci-fi fun.
For sure, Death Cure reaches further than its grasp in a vain attempt to close the story on a meaningful note—the last 45 minutes resemble the “Dear Sister” Saturday Night Live skit where everyone keeps shooting each other and melodramatically dying—but who can really blame this gaggle of murder-teens for trying to pretend like all the murdering they did meant something?