'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' Review: Third Time's a Yawn for YA Dystopia Series

Final chapter of teen sci-fi franchise gets lost in its own maze of a WTF plot

'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' brings back Dylan O' Brien and concludes the popular YA dystopia trilogy – Peter Travers on why the third time's a yawn. Credit: Joe Alblas/Twentieth Century Fox

On no, not more dystopia! The third and final chapter in the Maze Runner trilogy comes at a time when worst-case-scenario YA sci-fi series seems redundant – why imagine terrible futures when we have Trump to remind us that the end of the world is coming? Still, completists will make sure that The Death Cure shows some life at the box office. Fans of the franchise's talented star Dylan O'Brien will want to see the 26-year-old actor return to home base after suffering a serious stunt-related injury while filming the sequel in March of 2016. It took the Teen Wolf star nearly a year to recover and return to the set of the series that made him a YA hearththrob.

Still, though you'll root for O'Brien, The Death Cure plot is the essence of rehash. His character, Thomas, is once again battling WCKD, the Death Star-like organization run by two scientists (Aidan Gillen and Patricia Clarkson), that held him prisoner in the Glade and then sent him running across a desert to escape the Flare, a plague that zombified everyone, except the hottie teens also trapped in the maze's center. The scientists need their blood to cure the Flare, etc.

Got that? Thomas also has to free his best-friend-forever Minho (Ki Hong Lee) from the Last City and deal with the fact that his lady love, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), seems to have joined the dark side. Director Wes Ball, at the helm for all three movies, keeps the action percolating, starting with a nifty opening train robbery negotiated by Thomas, his Glade allies – Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden) – and resistance fighters, played by Rosa Salazar, Giancarlo Esposito and a badly scarred Walton Goggins.

Why? Foolish question – to distract us from the formula plotting and tin-earred dialogue cooked up by screenwriter T.S. Nowlin from the novel by James Dashner, of course! Did we mention that a wall has been built around the Last City? Mr. President, take heart. Ditto whoever's left in the audience looking for a dystopian fix. The Death Cure is an assault of fire and fury guaranteed to leave your senses frayed and your brain numb. If that's your poison, here's your ticket.