Director: Wes Ball.
The third visualised instalment of the youth adult science fiction novel series, Maze Runner; written by James Dashner, following on a little after The Scorch Trials. I’ve previously enjoyed both the first and second films of the series, putting them at the top of it genres and liking them for being quite dark and horrifying.
As with all the other Youth Adult visualised franchises, I haven’t read the books so debating accuracies and adjustments is pointless, but thus far, I’ve enjoyed the seemingly similar storyline of segregated teenagers, under oppression, fight back against an elitist system with this one being lead by O’Brien’s Thomas.
The film opens spectacularly with an impressive chasing-train heist when our rebel heroes attempt to rescue the captured Minho. But unfortunately not everything goes to plan and pushes the group to do the unthinkable; to breach The Last City and finish the mission. The action is continuous and it needed to be as it’s the longest of the series and it certainly feels like it.
The reasons behind this is the amount of story that goes on here. It’s the concluding instalment as far as the studio and books go, so all the loose ends of betrayals, twists and revelations have to be nicely tied up and I can imagine this was a struggle to get a good balance for the entire story to work.
Everyone from the entire series is here, and I mean everyone, so the structure has had to take the strain of how big this story is. Especially as some key characters have some interesting developments. But squeezing all this in does mean other character’s stories feel short, or even sacrificed but essentially everyone does get their moment.
And this in turn, makes it near impossible to have anything new here, having been introduced to the characters and plot elements such as the Grievers and Cranks; however the setting of The Last City is slightly refreshing, but verges on Divergent’s territory.
One key element of these films that kept me engaged, is it not being afraid to get a little dark, especially for a Youth Adult film. I can only the assume the books go much deeper but all the films have impressed me with the distance they’re prepared to go. There’s emotional turmoil, that’s violence and nasty consequences, elements, films of this genre might shy away from.
Obviously, the emotional impact the story carries is only brought to life by the performances, especially O’Brien and Brodie-Sangster with some very touching moments. Sadly, and could it be ironically, that the older actors don’t feel as strong against the younger ones? Maybe in comparison, with the story they had to work with; they’re going to appear to be the weaker players within the cast.
The action is up to par too, with some interesting sequences, especially the opening where O’Brien actually incurred a drastic head injury which resulted in the entire production being halted for a year whilst he fully recovered; and with O’Brien wishes as opposed to his permission, they actually used the take where he injured himself, in the final cut.
Obviously, the great benefits of having the same crew and cast make the series, is the consistency. Ball back at the helm, production crew and cast doing what they do and John Paesano’s score slightly recognisable, but sadly like the previous films; whilst I like his score, it’s very generic of the genre. “Rescue”, “The Lion’s Den” and “Goodbye” are the best tracks, but Lion’s Den sounds all to similar to many themes from someone like Zimmer.
This is still one of my preferred franchises within the genre, and this closes the story nicest, which is clearly no easy task to do. It does make it difficult to say which is the best of the series, but I suppose that’s a good thing, right? And if I really think about it, without rated the previous two, I’ll say it’s the weakest one out of the three.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 7
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 0