From left, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) pose alongside their trusty Toyota pickup in “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.”(Twentieth Century Fox)

From left, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) pose alongside their trusty Toyota pickup in “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.”(Twentieth Century Fox)

Part 3 of ‘Maze Runner’ series surprises with gripping scenes

The suspense sequences are well-handled, and there’s not too much Young Adult nonsense.

The graveyard of cinema is littered with the bones of Young Adult franchises that went bust.

Sure, it’s all fun and games when you’re a “Hunger Games” or “Twilight” fan. But try sitting through “The Giver” or “I Am Number Four.” And sometimes these things just keep staggering along, like zombies. Has anybody heard from the “Divergent” series lately? It might still be going. No one knows.

All this is daunting for a movie like “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” the third chapter in a series nobody has really been that wild about in the first place. Well, surprise, surprise: This is a competent and sometimes gripping movie.

The film begins with a roaring action sequence — no set-up, no exposition, just our heroes chasing a train at top speed. Director Wes Ball squeezes maximum juice out of the situation, with stunt work that’s gleefully over the top but not dumbed-down.

The “Maze Runner” world is depopulated by a plague. The teenage heroes are mysteriously immune, so the elites want to exploit them for a possible vaccine.

That’s really all you need to know. Chosen One Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) leads his immune crew back into the danger zone to rescue their pal Minho (Ki Hong Lee). They might also be curious about what their former comrade Teresa (Kaya Scoledario, the lead from the most recent “Pirates of the Caribbean” film) is up to, now that she’s working as a scientist for the other side.

Well-placed suspense sequences pace the film: getting through a tunnel crowded with “cranks” (zombified sick people), rescuing a busload of immune children with a crane.

The dialogue isn’t too painful, although it’s sometimes unnecessary. When the crew passes through the horrifying refugee camp that looks like a “Mad Max” rehearsal, someone says, “This place has really gone to hell.” Yes, we sort of guessed that.

Good villain here, in Irish actor (and “Game of Thrones” guy) Aidan Gillen, who purrs his lines and rarely changes out of a menacing gray turtleneck. (I realize a gray turtleneck does not sound menacing, but the way Gillen wears it, it is.)

Among the adults, there’s also Patricia Clarkson and Giancarlo Esposito; Barry Pepper goes full McConaughey as the inspirational-hippie-guru of the immunes. The teens include Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Rosa Salazar, plus the welcome return of Will Poulter (the maniac cop in “Detroit”) after taking the second “Maze Runner” film off.

Remember when the “Hunger Games” series split its final book into two movies? This solid film is evidence on that theory: Don’t do it.

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” (3 stars)

A solid and sometimes gripping third chapter in the Young Adult trilogy about teenagers immune to a worldwide plague. The suspense sequences are well-handled, and there’s not much nonsense around the edges. With Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scoledario.

Rating: PG-13, for violence

Showing: Alderwood, Alderwood Mall, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood Cinemas, Meridian, Oak Tree, Seattle 10, Thornton Place Stadium, Woodinville, Cascade Mall

Talk to us

More in Life

See 81 original paintings by Jack Dorsey in the "No. 81" exhibit through May at Sunnyshore Studio on Camano Island.
Camano Island studio celebrates a patriarch of the arts

“No. 81” features 81 of Jack Dorsey’s paintings on his 81st birthday. You can see 28 of them at Sunnyshore Studio.

If you decide to add raised beds to your garden, the dimensions should be at least 10 to 12 inches high and no more than 4 to 5 feet wide. The length is up to you and your available space. (Nicole Phillips)
The benefits of vegetable (or flower) gardening with raised beds

Here’s what you need to know to build, plant and care for raised beds so that you can reap all the rewards.

The vocal supergroup Säje will perform at the DeMiero Jazz Festival, which is March 4-6 this year.
DeMiero Jazz Festival packed with headlining performers

Edmonds’ 45th annual event will feature 17 virtual performances, plus jazz workshops for local students.

Owners Kim and Larry Harris at Bayernmoor Cellars on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 in Stanwood, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
World-class wine, from grapes grown right here

Bayernmoor Cellars makes award-winning pinot noir from grapes grown at its vineyard northeast of Stanwood.

About a dozen metal dinosaurs sit in the front yard of a home owned by Burt Mason and Mary Saltwick on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 in Freeland, Washington. The couple are used to finding strangers in their yard and taking photos. Every year on their trip to Tucson, Burt and Mary bring home another figure  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Dinos on Whidbey? This Freeland yard is a Jurassic Park

These creatures from long ago won’t chomp or chase you, and you’re welcome to visit.

Drink This: 5 Snohomish breweries to host Smash and Dash

Each brewery takes the same base IPA recipe and then dry hops the beer with a different hop. Try them all.

Golden shakshuka

Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Golden Shakshuka is just the thing for a weekend brunch

This easy Middle Eastern egg dish is made with yellow bell peppers and yellow cherry tomatoes.

Don Sarver, left, and Kyle James, right, snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 in Leavenworth, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Avoiding avalanches: How to know and where to go

Follow these tips for researching on-the-ground conditions from comfort of your home or local library.

(Getty Images)
You voted: The best Chinese food in Snohomish County

Even during a pandemic, people still have their favorites.

Most Read