Maze Runner: The Death Cure | Dylan O’Brien’s headstrong hero reaches the final lap

Maze Runner The Death Cure Dylan O'Brien Giancarlo Esposito Rosa Salazar

Who Will Make it to the WCKD End.

The first two instalments of the post-apocalyptic fantasy adventure trilogy based on young adult novelist James Dashner’s bestselling books left us breathless and baffled. So it’s a good job Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Rosa Salazar’s rebel youngsters have still got some wind left as they approach the series’ finishing line. And, we hope, the resolution of its labyrinthine mysteries.

Admittedly, Maze Runner: The Death Cure doesn’t barrel along quite as rapidly as the first two movies, The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails. It runs a stamina-testing 142 minutes, for a start. And on the occasions when the action stalls we have a bit too much time to ponder the holes in the plot.

We understand why O’Brien’s hero Thomas and his fellow teens should want to bring down the secretive WCKD organisation. WCKD (the clue’s in the name) were the ones who had imprisoned them in the first film’s perilous Glade, treating them as lab rats in their bid to find a cure for the deadly Flare virus that has turned most of humanity into zombie-like Cranks. No wonder, then, that Thomas is desperate to free his captured friend Minho (Ki Hong Lee) from WCKD’s clutches.

Maze Runner The Death Cure Dylan O'Brien Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Dash and panache.

Yet the headstrong Thomas and his comrades – including fellow Glader Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and plucky young resistance fighter Brenda (Rosa Salazar) – launch so many life-imperilling rescue attempts that we can’t keep a nagging doubt at bay. Perhaps Patricia Clarkson’s severe scientist has a point after all. Is it really so wise to put saving your friends ahead of the possibility of saving humanity?

Still, returning director Wes Ball certainly gives the action a commendable amount of dash and panache, from the intrepid train hijacking that opens the movie to the furious concluding assault on WCKD’s final bastion. Even if he does provide a few too many nick-in-time rescues for comfort.

Certificate 12A. Running time 142 mins. Director Wes Ball