Movie review: 'Fifty Shades' reaches lame climax

Fred Hawson

Posted at Feb 08 2018 01:47 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2018 09:12 AM

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In 2015, the first "Fifty Shades of Grey" movie introduced us to the kinky couple of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Just last year, the second film had Ana learning more about Christian and his past. Now, barely a year later, the third and final film in the "Fifty Shades" series based on the books by E.L. James has been released as well. 

In "Fifty Shades Freed," Anastasia and Christian are now married. Being married to a controlling billionaire, Ana feels stifled by Christian's rules and security, but she enjoys defying him to make her point felt. Their European honeymoon is interrupted by news of a fire set inside Christian's office building. Much later, Ana herself is assaulted in their own condo by an intruder who turns out to be her ex-boss Jack Hyde. Aside from trying to figure out why Hyde hates Grey with a passion, the newlyweds also try to deal with an unexpected guest. 

Since this film was shot back-to-back with the second film by director James Foley, it looked and felt just like it. There was not much improvement to be expected in the acting of Dakota Johnson and Jaime Dornan, though they did seem to be more relaxed already by now. Eric Johnson was one-dimensional in his portrayal of token antagonist Hyde. The rest of the cast may be good-looking but were similarly bland, from Brant Daugherty (as Ana's stiff bodyguard Sawyer) to Arielle Kebbel (as the flirty architect Gia Matteo). 

The cinematography was still lush and vibrant, showing the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous Greys (their vacations, their houses, their cars), as well as what happens in their bedrooms. The sexy scenes were not as instrumental to the story anymore as they were in the first two films. These gratuitous scenes basically became fillers to stretch out a lame revenge crime story into 105 minutes. 

The best aspect of all the "Fifty Shades" films remains to be its musical soundtrack. There is nothing that immediately stood out as strongly as "Love Me Like You Do" or "Earned It" did from the first film, or "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" from the second film. However, "For You" by Rita Ora (who played as Christian's sister Mia) and Liam Payne, and "Capital Letters" by Hailee Steinfeld are definitely ear candy that deserve to be radio hits as well. We also get to see and hear Jaime Dornan sing "Maybe I'm Amazed" while playing the piano -- not bad. 

The paper-thin story actually centered around dreary side character Hyde and his vindictiveness, than about Christian Grey and his BDSM obsession. There was clearly nothing more to tell about Grey anymore here. We see only Christian's petulant immaturity when dealing with adult relationship issues. 

While Ana had the more interesting story to tell, Niall Leonard's script can occasionally make her come across as flighty and annoying. Anyhow, at least we can see that these two really deserve each other! 4/10

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."