Maze Runner: The Death Cure

You may be forgiven if you, like me, thought about going to see “The Maze Runner: The Death Cure” to catch up on what happened to Shailene Woodley’s character Tris Prior.

Please be advised you have the wrong franchise.

Back in the day of the young-adult-in-peril dystopian trilogies screens were filled with good looking young actors fighting for survival in movies like “The Maze Runner” and “The Divergent Series.” Of the bunch of them only “The Hunger Games” distinguished itself as a go-to movie. The others kind of blended together to form one long post apocalyptic action series that resembled an anti-utopian Guess ad with automatic weapons and artfully tousled hair.

Since the new film, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” assumes you’re up to speed with the story I’ll save you the trouble of having to binge watch the first two movies.

Here’s the catch-up:

Based on a series of wildly popular YA books, 2014s “The Maze Runner” sees Thomas, played by “Teen Wolf’s” Dylan O’Brien, plopped into a community of young men surrounded by a labyrinth. The rebellious Thomas wants to see if there is a way to navigate through the ever-changing maze that stands between the boys and whatever is happening in the outside world.

The following year “The Scorch Trials” saw the virtuous Thomas and his gang take on the worst people in the world, W.C.K.D., a group of evildoers that appear to use an Instagram acronym as their name.

After a three-year wait Thomas is back with his stylishly dishevelled hair and chiselled face to break into The Last City, a fortified town where doctors work to find a cure for a plague that turns people into snarling zombies. The good doctors, including Thomas’s former flame Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), are experimenting on the Maze Runners who are immune to the disease. In particular Thomas wants to rescue Minho (Ki Hong Lee), a pal being mercilessly poked with needles in search of a cure.

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” features lots of ominous music, attractive stars in motion, dusty dystopian landscapes and something gets blown up or shot at every 10 minutes or so. What’s missing is the emotional content that might make you care about Thomas and Company. The movie really wants you to love the characters. The camera endlessly caresses their determined and often tearstained faces but the ham fisted big emotional moments are as empty as the jars of gel thrown in the trash after being used to poof up the cast’s hair. The characters are mannequins mouthing generic dialogue—speeches begin with, “I knew I know you have no reason to trust me,” and every few minutes someone says, “We have to get out of here!”—for two hours and twenty minutes. Think what else you could do with that time!