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

Darlene Love, Steven Van Zandt and Paul Shaffer  performed in concert at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park on Sept. 12, 2015.
Pandemic’s not stopping Christmas Queen Darlene Love

The singer best known for “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” will perform her annual holiday concert online this year.

A gardener’s to-do list for winterizing the yard — Part 2

Try to accomplish most of these chores, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get them all done.

Caleb Sanders and Ashley Dougherty help decorate for the Trees of Christmas event at the Everett Bible Baptist Church. (Maria Lara)
Church keeps Christmas tradition alive with drive-thru event

Everett Bible Baptist Church hosts Trees of Christmas, with music, narration and special treats for the family.

Mexican sedum is an excellent groundcover plant, forming a dense carpet of glossy chartreuse leaves. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Sedum kimnachii aka Mexican sedum

An excellent groundcover plant, this variety forms a flat, dense carpet of glossy chartreuse leaves.

Make holidays brighter with energy saving tips and gifts

Snohomish County PUD shares five smart ways to find joy in the season that use less electricity.

John Spadam owner, at Spada Farmhouse Brewery in Snohomish. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Spada ready to show off new bar and restaurant in Snohomish

During the pandemic, the Spada family has been busy renovating an old building on First Street.

Precept Wine, the largest privately-owned wine company in Washington, recruited Seattle native Sarah Cabot to take over its pinot noir production in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 2014. (Precept Wine)
Six examples of award-winning pinot noir in the Northwest

The Willamette Valley of Oregon has a reputation for the red wine, but there are other success stories in the area.

To deposit a coin in the Bonzo bank, you had to push his tummy. His tongue would come out of his mouth to deposit the coin inside. Many similar banks were made picturing other comic characters. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
Mechanical bank of the first famous Bonzo sells for $1,800

The dog decorating the front of the tin bank was a comic cartoon star from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Design elements of the M235i Gran Coupe include angled headlights, four-eyed halo daytime running lights, and BMW’s traditional kidney grille. (Manufacturer photo)
BMW’s compact 2 Series Gran Coupe is all new to the 2020 lineup

A turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and 8-speed automatic transmission are standard on both versions.

Most Read