At first glance you wouldn’t expect the Maze Runner franchise to have too much to say about the current horror story that is American politics.
Not only did James Dashner’s first novel come out in 2009, but the film series itself didn’t start until September, 2014, with its sequel arriving near enough a year later. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” was originally scheduled to arrive one month into Trump’s presidency, but the injury to Dylan O’Brien’s hand forced production and the film’s release to be pushed back just over 11 months.
The world into which it arrives is still just as tempestuous and divisive, though, and, either by design or accident, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” actually does a rather impressive job of tapping into the current mood of the country.
WARNING: There are a few SPOILERS ahead for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.” So if you want to see the film without it being ruined for you then you shouldn’t proceed.
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While the nefarious pursuits of the WCKD was always apparent in the first two “Maze Runner” films, in “The Death Cure” we truly delve into The Last City and see how Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) and Janson (Aidan Gillen) have created a world of fear and paranoia over the deadly Flare disease, which slowly turns its victims into bloodthirsty and irrational humans that partake in cannibalism.
Those that have been afflicted, or are likely to be, are immediately ostracized and thrown out of the Last City. They are even kept out of the metropolis by a huge wall.
At this point the parallels to how Donald Trump created a climate and culture of fear with his thoughts of immigration and terrorism during his Presidential campaign, as well as declaring that he was going to build a wall on the border with Mexico, should be apparent.
The parallels run deeper, though. Because the last of the Gladers, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Frypan (Dexter Darden), and Gally (Will Poulter), are full of youth and vinegar and are ready to take down their arrogant and cynical elders, who have completely lost hope and are only interested in saving themselves. The Gladers manage to achieve just that, and pave the way for the ostracized, most of which haven’t actually succumbed to the disease, to overthrow the tyrannical government.
Come “The Death Cure’s” conclusion it’s even revealed that the cure for the Flare is inside Thomas’s blood, a metaphor that is so glaringly obvious it should instigate today’s youth to fight and contest the establishment in reality, too.
Maybe they should stop short of actually overthrowing the government, though. Despite the fact that, depressingly, you wouldn’t put it past someone in Trump’s government to at least dabble in cannibalism before the end of their time in office.