The question I had going into this was, can this film cure the death of the Young Adult film genre. Everybody knows that the YA genre, has not had a good past few years with the end of The Hunger Games, and Divergent, the Mortal Instruments and The 5th wave crashing and burning; it looked like the genre was at an end or at least slowing down. However, one high profile YA series remained and that was Maze Runner. First off I think the delay in release date was a genuinely good thing for this film, as it allowed it to stand a good distance apart from the other YA films of years past, and command more attention. This film is a bit of a mixed bag because a lot of its strengths are also its weakness and vice versa. The first such example of this is the runtime, 142 minutes seems extortionately long for this kind of movie, and yes it does bring with it quite a few pacing issues; with some parts feeling needlessly long and other not flushed out enough. However, with this long running time, it avoids what has pretty much become a trope of the genre and that is splitting the last film into 2, I would say that the film benefits overall from this long running time, and it allows it to tie up all the loose ends and go out on a high note. Furthermore, the performances here are also a mixture of highs and lows. On one hand there are tremendous actors such as, Aiden Gillen and Walton Goggins, who play Janson and Lawrence respectively; however, both characters are barely used with Goggins in particular only being in the movie for a few short scenes. Gillen’s Janson does manage to be a memorable villain, being both aggressive and slimy at the same time, and whilst his character was previously built up in the series unlike Goggins, he still is given very little to do. Where the performances shine through are in the younger actors, specifically in Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Thomas Brodie- Sangster (Newt) and Rosa Salazar (Brenda). The friendship between O’Brien’s Thomas and Brodie- Sangster’s Newt, is the emotional core of the movie, with Thomas trying to find a cure for Newt whilst also searching for their friend, both actors give amazing performances making this friendship both believable and relatable in all the best ways. The untimely death of Newt towards the end of the third act hit me with much more emotional impact than the death of Theresa, (Kaya Scodelario), whose character is the one of the weakest and most boring of the whole movie. This is a shock as the relationship between Thomas and Theresa has been built up for 3 movies, and the end of that build up felt rather anti-climatic and just poorly done. In addition, there is the usual YA problem of the plot being laughably dumb, and this movie does suffer from that, I don’t think someone who hasn’t seen at least one of the previous two movies would be able to jump into this and understand what is going on; which is a large issue. Finally, I just wanted to briefly mention, Rosa Salazar’s performance as Brenda, I found her to be a wholly enjoyable character, and very easy to root for; being able to pull off both comedy and drama with ease. Her performance in this makes me a lot more confident, for Alita Battle Angel that she is staring in later this year. Her scenes were my favourite part of this movie.
Anyway, though the film suffers from some issues, (many of which are commonly found in the genre), and does waste some of its actors, it is still enjoyable. This film feels like a good mix of Mad Max and The Hunger Games and is most certainly a very good final entry in the series.
Reviewed by Luke