Critics Consensus

The Maze Runner Franchise Limps to the Finish Line

Plus, Hostiles is a solid Western and Jean-Claude Van Damme's latest Kickboxer outing is surprisingly fun.

by | January 25, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have the belated conclusion of the Maze Runner trilogy (Maze Runner: The Death Cure, starring Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario), and Christian Bale riding a horse (Hostiles, c0-starring Rosamund Pike and West Studi). What are the critics saying?

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) 41%

Timing is hugely important for any movie, and for a film franchise based on a series of YA novels, momentum can be crucial — it’s important to strike before your target audience ages out and moves on to something else. The Maze Runner movies were forced to confront this principle in action when leading man Dylan O’Brien was injured on the set of the third installment, Maze Runner: The Death Cure; O’Brien’s surgery and recovery led to a delay of roughly a year, and although a person’s health is obviously far more important than the commercial fortunes of a film, there’s no denying that most releases in this genre have a fairly limited shelf life, and by waiting, The Death Cure risked seeing its window swing shut. On the other hand, its prolonged gestation doesn’t seem to have affected this chapter’s critical reception; like the prior Maze Runner outing, 2015’s The Scorch Trials, it’s edging up on a 50 percent Tomatometer, with reviews describing a saga-concluding adventure that proves occasionally exciting in a generally predictable fashion. For fans who’ve followed along until now and are still along for the ride, Maze Runner: The Death Cure should prove an engaging enough conclusion — but as with any other film series approaching its end, the unconverted probably need not apply.

Hostiles (2018) 73%

Writer-director Scott Cooper has earned widespread critical acclaim by finding the emotional pull in stories about hard people having hard times in hard places, and with this weekend’s Hostiles, his creative journey takes him back to the late 19th century and way out west, where a U.S. Cavalry officer stationed in New Mexico (Christian Bale) is ordered to bring a dying Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) back to his tribal land in Montana. Along the way, their group encounters a ruined home where a shellshocked widow (Rosamund Pike) is grieving the murder of her family by a Comanche war party — a meeting that irrevocably alters the journey for all concerned. It’s the setup for the type of wind-whipped frontier drama we’ve already seen countless times, and critics say Hostiles definitely hews to its share of conventions. The end results still engage, however, thanks to Cooper’s determined direction and layered story — not to mention typically great work from Bale and Studi as well as a standout performance from Pike. While it ultimately may not lead audiences down many trails they haven’t already explored, Cooper’s latest outing makes it well worth saddling up for genre fans.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018) , the latest installment in the long-running rebooted martial arts series, is at 100 percent.
  • Padmaavat (2018) , an Indian period piece inspired by the 16th-century epic poem, is at 89 percent.
  • A Ciambra (2018) , about the experiences of a young boy coming of age in southern Italy, is at 81 percent.
  • American Folk (2018) , about a pair of folk musicians who hit the road together when their flight is grounded after the September 11 attacks, is at 80 percent.
  • West of the Jordan River (2018) , a documentary about the Israelis and Palestinians coping with conditions in contested territories, is at 75 percent.
  • Like Me (2018) , about a woman who builds a massive social media following by broadcasting her traveling crime spree, is at 67 percent.
  • Please Stand By (2018) , starring Dakota Fanning as a young woman on the spectrum who embarks on a Star Trek-inspired road trip, is at 55 percent.
  • The Clapper (2018) , starring Ed Helms and Tracy Morgan as friends who earn a living as infomercial audience members, is at 25 percent.

Tag Cloud

Toys Apple Video Games finale dc 21st Century Fox First Look Comic Book Columbia Pictures Nat Geo Lucasfilm TV romance YouTube Premium Adult Swim Ghostbusters Reality Competition Acorn TV what to watch streaming Summer DirecTV Nominations travel AMC Thanksgiving Syfy science fiction GIFs FX FXX Tomatazos TruTV OWN dramedy CBS All Access Infographic Awards Martial Arts binge Star Wars Box Office 2017 TCA Warner Bros. cinemax Esquire Oscars Rom-Com Freeform E3 golden globes Teen BBC Mindy Kaling dceu Polls and Games Pirates Action Winners CMT police drama IFC Marathons period drama Rock Starz American Society of Cinematographers robots GLAAD YA Election psycho Spring TV Certified Fresh Food Network IFC Films war harry potter NBC spy thriller 2016 Biopics crime drama Amazon ITV aliens crossover CNN Netflix Mystery Disney Holidays ABC RT History political drama discovery Crackle hist Pixar VICE Opinion Universal sitcom Spike Writers Guild of America Reality MSNBC Paramount Network GoT PaleyFest The CW Shondaland VH1 Photos Valentine's Day Schedule Rocky El Rey boxoffice 007 2015 See It Skip It talk show Hulu Logo Cosplay Nickelodeon Musicals X-Men 20th Century Fox USA vampires cops mutant adventure DC Comics Superheroes Drama medical drama thriller cats cults Western Showtime docudrama BET Musical comiccon Character Guide Dark Horse Comics Lionsgate composers Paramount Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BBC America Music Interview Countdown President DC Universe Sci-Fi Cartoon Network Song of Ice and Fire cooking Britbox LGBTQ Animation Podcast MTV TBS Fantasy The Arrangement Trailer Tumblr Superheroe Premiere Dates Walt Disney Pictures SundanceTV History Set visit NYCC TCA 2017 zombie diversity CW Seed Christmas FOX sports Comedy Central HBO Ellie Kemper Sundance Now festivals ratings SXSW SDCC Watching Series TCM TNT Trivia technology Country TLC politics Star Trek Super Bowl 24 frames ESPN YouTube Red supernatural Sony Pictures Comedy Winter TV Disney Channel zombies CBS transformers Marvel 45 Masterpiece TIFF blaxploitation Mary Tyler Moore justice league Pop social media WGN based on movie Bravo Kids & Family Ovation National Geographic Emmys Lifetime Calendar TV Land A&E biography unscripted Year in Review E! historical drama Extras PBS Fall TV Fox News Red Carpet doctor who USA Network Best and Worst Grammys crime thriller Creative Arts Emmys serial killer Sneak Peek Horror ABC Family crime DC streaming service APB singing competition Sundance