Stars: 2/5

The most recent installment of the “Maze Runner” film franchise, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” had many flashing lights, but failed to dazzle. I mean it when I say, “Holy epilepsy warning, Batman.”

The film opened up with a “Fury Road”-esque desert car chase without the buildup to be anything but confusing. Without the benefit of the public conversation inspired by “The Hunger Games” series between movies, the casual follower of the series has a solid chance of being lost for a good 30 minutes of screen time.

Bad decisions abound every step of the way on the hero and villain sides of the story. They go hand-in-hand with the shock and awe moments that beg someone to ask, “Why? Who said this was necessary?”

Betrayal in the movie is often perpetrated and rarely addressed. With all of this apparent tension, it’s no wonder the story takes place in a dystopia.

The cranks, “Maze Runner’s” zombies and not zombies, do not get the creep rating they did during the last installment and their debut in the series. They shine for a brief scene and are promptly shafted for the most part.

However, they do remain at the forefront of character Teresa’s sweet, angelic mind. While not a bad character by any means, her angelic demeanor gets old fast. Her story is one that’s been told before.  

The death of a certain character aspired to rank among “The Death Cure’s” shocking events, but fell so short it did not even start the race. A whole other character in the movie had previously been saved from the same fate they all knew approached, and still nothing was done to prevent it.

I can’t say much about Thomas, the hero, because the story does not leave much room for him to have any kind of outside personality. Even the angelic Teresa has more personality than him. Their obligatory romance reads about as compellingly as an internet friendship in which one of the pair has stopped paying their Internet provider.

Brenda and Jorge are easily the most interesting characters. They had their focus in the earlier film “The Scorch Trials” and must fall into less relevant roles, so they do not steal the show. They definitely still do, though.

“The Death Cure” is not a terrible movie. It has plenty of enjoyable moments, but they just did not make up for the two and a half hours shaved off my life.

If you want another action-filled teen dystopia flick, this movie will give you your fix. If you want to see literally anything else, this will not satisfy you.