A car speeds across a desert wasteland, its two occupants on a mission to catch up with a train up ahead, which it does as the passenger begins firing at it, creating a distraction. Their cohorts are in another car, and that barrels along behind the last carriage as its passenger and driver clamber out hook it to their vehicle and climb aboard. As the guards fire at them, they manage to blow up the connection between a prison carriage and the rest of the train, allowing it to come to rest on the track. After hooking that to an overhead aircraft commandeered by the first two, our heroes are able to be lifted into the sky, rescuing the occupants. But what was so special about them?
This third instalment in the Maze Runner series almost didn't happen, for its star Dylan O'Brien was seriously injured while filming the above opening sequence and it took over a year for him to recuperate. He wanted the shot where he was injured to be included in the end result to make it somehow worth all the pain he had been through, and once he had finished the movie and it was released some three years after the previous instalment, he was rewarded with a hit, largely, you have to surmise, of those who had been following both the fictional and factual saga of the franchise and were curious to witness how they had handled it, in the story as well as reality.
Once they had seen the film, and it did rather well thereby justifying its existence, the reactions started to come in, and they were not good. Maze Runner had not really been a beloved franchise like The Hunger Games quartet, the movies it aspired to be, and therefore it was royally slagged off on any internet platform you could imagine, as if the complainers had never seen one of these before - not merely a Maze Runner episode, but one of these twenty-first century Young Adult fantasy adventures - and were genuinely affronted that it relied on clichés and stuff we had seen before in other contexts, not to mention functional dialogue you could recite with the characters.
All of that was par for the course for these big studio appeals to the younger audiences who were too old for the kiddie stuff and not old enough to get into see the grown-up stuff, so quite why so many were so affronted by what they saw is a mystery, unless there was a hell of a lot of hatewatching going on. The plot here wrapped up what had gone before, assuming you could remember that far back, in a manner seemingly designed to wind up the fans of the books, much as the other efforts had been, by not sticking to what they regarded as a perfectly serviceable storyline, leaving what could best be described as a loose adaptation. The point here, as with any number of these YA creations, was for the reader (or watcher) to identify with a protagonist marked out as somehow special.
We find out our lead Thomas (O'Brien) is special because his blood contains the cure, the death cure if you like, for the virus that has turned vast swathes of the world's population into violent zombies, so obviously he is much sought after by the scientist authorities who want to use this to save humanity. What's so bad about that? Well, to do so they perform experiments on those who appear to be immune, making them little better than human vivisectionists and therefore boo-hiss-worthy. One however, was the returning Teresa, played by Kaya Scodelario, who is the nice scientist and can potentially find a way of uniting the human race once more thanks to Thomas's red stuff: you could see where this was going, even down to which characters would be sacrificed to generate emotion in the audience, those who were not indulging in industrial strength eye-rolling, that was. There had been an awful lot of money spent on something so routine, but this stuff did make its money back, unlike a lot of its contemporaries. Music by John Paesano.