NEW YORK - The third installment of the "Maze Runner" franchise hits theaters this weekend. The first two were big box office hits, but will part three live up to the hype?
The opening of "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" engaged me right away, the young stars are so likable, and serious actress Patricia Clarkson looked like she was having so much fun that I was willing to ignore the film's many shortcomings...at least for awhile.
A deadly plague has wiped out most of humanity, and a small group led by Thomas is immune and free. Meanwhile, inside the "Last City," others who can't get infected are being used in questionable experiments.
"They think you're worth sacrificing to find a cure," says one of those with immunity.
"They" are bad guys working for a company called WCKD, pronounced "wicked," where Clarkson's character is in charge.
"If we find a cure, that's the only way all this was worth it," she says.
Helping her is Theresa, who used to be part of the cool kids until she sided with WCKD in "Maze" 2.
"I did what I thought was right," she tells Thomas, who clearly still has feelings for her now that he is back in the Last City he once fled. He's risked going back to rescue one of his group, who has been captured.
The plot is so convoluted it defies my ability to explain in the space I have here, but Harvard sophomore Reade Rossman, who saw "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" with me, liked the fact that Theresa is not a damsel-in-distress. She also loved the fact she saves him. Reade says that's a welcome reversal of the stereotype that has a guy always rescuing the gal.
Call this a welcome diversion from all those important films competing for attention during Oscar season. Maybe that's why I quite enjoyed watching these attractive and resourceful young people trying to save the human race, even though their movie is way too long and the plot way too complicated.