The Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Posted on January 24, 2018 at 2:23 pmB
|Lowest Recommended Age:||Middle School|
|MPAA Rating:||Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, and some thematic elements|
|Profanity:||Some strong language|
|Alcohol/ Drugs:||Medical tests|
|Violence/ Scariness:||Extensive peril and violence, many characters injured and killed, zombies, guns, chases, crashes, and explosions, some graphic and disturbing images|
|Date Released to Theaters:||January 26, 2018|
|Date Released to DVD:||April 22, 2018|
These dystopian teen sagas generally run out of steam after the high concept of the first one. While this third and final chapter of “The Maze Runner” series is better than the muddled second one, it does not rise to the level of the existential drama original concept of teenage boys (and finally one girl), their memories wiped, forced to try to get through a booby-trapped maze.
Once they get out of the maze, thanks to the leadership of Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), then there’s just a “Hunger Games”/”Divergent”-style race to the center of operations for the evil and corrupt regime (sometimes involving a lab with white-coated scientists torturing people) to rescue characters we know, some who make it and some who don’t, and also rescue the whole world.
The Jeremy Bentham/Trolley Problem issue of having to decide between the greatest good for the greatest number versus saving the people you care about is raised, which is intriguing, but not in a particularly thoughtful way. It also briefly raises the intriguing issue of how you can reboot a civilization to prevent the mistakes of the past, but spends most of its time on chases, explosions, zombies, evil scientists, and, as in all movies of this genre, the idea that hot teens are all that can save us. “If there’s even the slightest chance to save him, we have to take it, no matter what the cost,” Thomas says, which sounds great, but can that really be true? Doesn’t it mean risking the lives of many to save one? You can’t count on the movie-standard running through the bullets to work every time. But we cannot expect too much from a movie where the bad guys work for a corporation called WCKD.
The action scenes are dynamic and exciting, but there are too many of them and as the film edges past two hours it all gets numbing. There isn’t much help from the grim dialogue, which has a numbing effect as well: “We started this thing together. Maybe we’ll end it that way, too.” “They can only poke the hornet’s nest do long before they get stung.” “It’s amazing what people can accomplish when their survival is at risk.” This movie plays less like their survival is at risk than that they were just trying to make it to the end.
Parents should know that this movie has extended peril and violence with many characters injured and killed and some graphic and disturbing images involving zombies, guns, chases, explosions, and medical torture, as well as some strong language.
Family discussion: Who should decide whether a few get sacrificed to save the rest? What is important about the way Thomas is different from the others? In these films, “Hunger Games,” and “Divergent,” how did well-intentioned efforts to solve past problems create bigger problems?
If you like this, try: the earlier “Maze Runner” films and “The Hunger Games”