The concluding instalment of the Maze Runner trilogy opens with an elaborate action sequence involving a moving train, tank-like jeeps, a transportation aircraft (called a Berg) and a train coach suspended in the air. The Gladers, led by Thomas, and their allies are attempting to rescue their friend Minho, who has been captured by WCKD. Why has he been captured? Because WCKD believes the cure to the virus is to be found in a clutch of humans immune to it.

To recap, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) became a maze runner in the Glade (a green plateau surrounded by a monolithic wall, which is in fact a maze) and led a group of teens out of the grid. The following year, in The Scorch Trials, the Gladers faced the perils of the scorch and the schemes of WCKD (World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department) headed by Dr Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) and Janson (Aiden Gillen). Thomas, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Teresa Agnes (Kaya Scodelario), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Winston (Alexander Flores) found allies in Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), Vince and Brenda (Rosa Salazar)—members of an underground resistance movement. But then they were betrayed by Teresa, who sided with WCKD in its efforts to find a cure against the Flare virus, which turns humans into zombies.

In this concluding part, since Thomas and his crew steal the wrong train coach, the rest of the film is primarily about finding Minho. But it’s also about Thomas’s confrontation with former love, Teresa, about other Gladers who will succumb to the Flare, and about bringing down WCKD, once and for all. Their search for Minho brings Thomas and his team to the Last City. This is WCKD’s sanctuary, surrounded by a colossal wall that seals them off from those infected with the deadly virus.

Wes Ball has helmed all three films based on the YA dystopian novels by James Dashner, which feature the expected tropes of the post-apocalyptic genre—zombies, infections, rebels, crumbling cities, rusting vehicles, subterranean habitats and arid landscapes. Explosions, man-eating walking dead, unimaginative action scenes, trite dialogue and awkward moments of tenderness crowd T.S. Nowlin’s screenplay.

The intrigue of the first part, the fascinating design of the maze and the interplay between the characters trapped in the Glade have been eroded over the subsequent parts to end in a most unsatisfactory way. A number of entirely excessive side plots would have made scant difference to the conclusion. Maze Runner: The Death Cure might find favour with fans keen to wind up a trilogy unless, like me, they too are suffering from dystopia fatigue.

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