Fifty Shades Freed is the third and final installment to a franchise that began as Twilight fan-fiction but later went on to become a sensation that swept the nation. Though it rarely comes up in conversation, I often find it rare that I speak with a lady who hasn’t read the books or seen the movies. Despite both of the previous films being critically panned, the films still turn an exceptional profit for Universal.
Plastered on the poster for Freed is the tagline “You don’t want to miss the climax,” but I can assure you, you’ll be just fine if you do. But if you plan on seeing this, you’ve likely invested your time into the other two and looking to wrap things up with this one. Good luck, because unfortunately, there honestly isn’t really much that much happens here, and whatever does happen is extremely anticlimactic to say the least.
The film starts off with Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) exchanging their vows before it turns into a full three and half minute music video montage for Hailee Steinfeld’s “Capital Letters” as they prepare for their honeymoon. After a bit of cringe-worthy dialogue over something as simple as applying sunscreen to Ana’s back, the honeymoon is cut short due to complications back home with Christian’s company that required immediate attention. Evidently, past rival Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) is picking up right where he left off in the previous film (50 Shades Darker) in trying to sabotage Ana and Christian’s life and relationship, but how he goes about doing it doesn’t ever really make a whole lot of sense.
A friend of mine recently described the series as “X-rated source material shoehorned into an R-rated movie without enough story to make up the difference” and he couldn’t have been more right. The film runs at about an hour and forty five minute run-time, but the substance is so abysmally dull and stretched out that it feels much longer. Truth be told, the overall arcing story for this film could have probably been told in a twenty-two minute television episode. Maybe I’d even allow the standard forty-eight minute television episode length to feature the numerous and mandatory sex scenes that this franchise just has convey. The sex is almost literally every other scene this time around, and sometimes for no reason whatsoever. I mean, I guess after the incredibly boring car chase, the adrenaline was pumping well enough to spark a mid-day romp in the middle of a public parking lot in the Audi that’s shamelessly plugged throughout the film.
One even begs to ask why these two haven’t worked out the basic stuff about getting married before having done so. Every interaction between Ana and Christian throughout the film involves them being on different pages about things. She wants to take her top off on the beach during their honeymoon, and Christian throws a fit about it (though his reasoning about tabloids, I suppose, make sense considering his fame – but how famous is he actually?) He doesn’t want kids and makes it known when she makes an off-handed comment about being pregnant. It seemed like the first time she ever asked about it. Not to mention, her first day back at work involves him actually storming in about his emails bouncing because she hasn’t changed her last name yet (and seems to not intend to). So much needless drama is implemented to fill the movie length, that it’s just plain lazy and boring.
After about an hour and a half of less than mediocrity, the overall story comes to its “climax” in a standoff between Ana and Jack, who is demanding five million dollars to get his life back. Events transpire and Ana and Christian can live the rest of their lives happily ever after. Meanwhile, the viewer has to spend the rest of the night wishing they had that time back.