Over time, you start to see a pattern where movies can often succeed or fail simply based on how well they are executed. When they are well crafted, you can ignore some of the flaws and clichés that they may have that would not be so easy to look past in other circumstances. On the other hand, you can sometimes find movies that are not done as well as they could have been. This makes these problems more obvious and less forgivable. That's pretty much where we stand with Maze Runner: The Death Cure. It could have been good, but it constantly manages to get in its own way.
In the final film of The Maze Runner trilogy, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) leads his rebellious group of escaped Gladers on what's sure to be the most dangerous mission of their lives. Learning that the remaining survivors are being held captive in what's known as The Last City, the group must find a way to get inside and free everyone from the clutches of WCKD. This was always going to be a difficult task, but once they move forward with their plans, they come to understand that this metropolis is more like a fortress that may be harder to get into than it is to get out of.
Starting with the opening sequence, it appeared that we could at least expect some good action in The Death Cure. And if you're going by the second film in this trilogy, the action seems to also have the potential to be the best part of what we get here. As we move through this, that proved to be the case to some degree, but then again, everything around the action scenes failed to be able to keep up with it.
This is similar to the original film's sequel in that way, but it comes up short because the action itself is not as fun. The opening scene certainly leads you to believe that it could be, but the rest of it can not maintain that type of value as it loses steam and gets weaker as the movie motors along. This makes the flaws that The Death Cure has even more noticeable.
One of the largest issues that it has is that it's lightweight and manages to feel hollow in terms of story. What makes this even more glaringly obvious is the fact that this movie is definitely too long. After a while, it feels as soon as every scene is stretched out longer than it needs to be since what can be accomplished simply does not require this amount of time. There are also multiple scenes towards the end where it feels like the movie could end only for it to continue for no reason.
Deciding to drag this out for as long as they do actually takes away from the positive qualities that are actually here. For whatever reason, they took what should have been an hour and forty-five movie at the most and turned it into something that's stretched into almost two and a half hours of repetitiveness and predictability. If anything, this aspect is what will be the thing that hurts it more than anything else we get to see or hear.
And this was not only bad because it did some damage to the movie, it was also bad because there probably are not as many people interested as they were when the first picture was released back in 2014 anyway. This is just another reason why it's important to "read the room" and figure out what people may want. Since it was already in production, you have to make the movie and release it in the theaters, but you have to do it in a way that's more fan friendly.
By making The Death Cure quick and more to the point, you end up with a tight and probably decent action movie that could have served as a solid send off to a franchise that became less and less relevant after the release of its first movie. Doing this allows for those interested to be engaged for a short period of time as they get the chance to enjoy the okay action scenes in swift bursts that do not stick around longer than they should.
You could have also reduced the amount of focus on some parts of this and placed more emphasis on the characters in other ways. I say that because there are so many actors in this movie who are actually recognizable but do not get much to do and are not in the movie all that much. Instead of wasting time by stretching out the scenes we get, give us more scenes with some of these other people who were introduced in the last movie. And if that's done correctly, this may have been transformed into a better movie.
Because of the way it's executed, Maze Runner: The Death Cure ends up being so bloated that it's hard to appreciate the positive features that are included. It's always tough when analyzing movies like this because you can see how it could have worked if it was handled properly by the people who make the decisions. I guess you can consider this a missed opportunity, but it may not matter since this ended up not even being as popular as a young adult property as it should have been.