“Maze Runner” disrupts dystopian cliches

By: Matt McDonald, Columnist

Featured image courtesy of Chan Vu Lang.

The final chapter of the “Maze Runner” series, “The Death Cure,” arrived in theaters this past month, after audiences had to wait an extended period of time as the lead actor, Dylan O’Brien, was massively injured in a stunt gone wrong, resulting in a concussion and a few fractures. If I hadn’t known, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell that he had undergone such a physical ordeal, as I felt this was the best acting by him in any of these movies.

I have to admit, I haven’t read the series yet, although it is on my list, so I am going to base this review off of what I saw in the trilogy, not the story from the books. When “The Maze Runner” came out, I was stoked. I thought this was such a cool idea, and in “The Scorch Trials,” I figured it was going to be as stated: more tests, a concept I really liked. When I realized it was beginning to trickle into generic dystopian territory, however, I began to worry.

This movie proved me wrong. It took some of those clichés such as the “female leader in a white suit” (and a few others I cannot mention due to spoilers), and turned them on their heads. There were many moments and character arcs that were different from the normal dystopian movie, and in some cases from Hollywood movie plots in general. There were also a bunch of surprises and shocking moments that kept me engrossed, and one particular moment that almost made me tear up.

There were actually a lot of great things about this movie, despite it being the ending of an another adult fiction series. It was very well directed and looked really crisp. I especially liked the music choices; they were strong and powerful and assisted the movie in really subtle but moving ways. The acting across the board was pretty well-executed, but there were a few actors who really brought it, including O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Rosa Salazar.   

The big problem I found with this movie: convenience. There are several times where something happens that is very conveniently timed or located to get the heroes out of a tight situation. Someone would be in the exact place at the right time, even though there was no way they could have known where they were going to be needed. These moments took me out of the movie a little bit each time because of just how unbelievable they were.

One other smaller problem I had, and it could just be me not understanding it completely, was that the main reason for the movie didn’t seem to have much closure at the end. Unfortunately, I can’t say much else without spoiling, but it just seemed like certain things didn’t need to happen and could have been avoided.

All in all, it had a few large problems, but still a very entertaining and captivating finale that was definitely better than “Divergent” (considering theirs didn’t even make it to theaters) and dare I say an even better story ending than that of “Mockingjay”. It was suspenseful and surprising, and I hope in the future they make the two prequels. 2.5/4

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