Finally the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise has reached its thrilling(?) climax with Fifty Shades Freed, the epic(?) conclusion to the iconic(?) trilogy which understands what it is and accepts defeat….. or triumph if you look at the box office. This is a franchise that has been plagued with terrible writing, directing, and performances and despite how bad it began it has actually somehow been degrading in quality. This final entry’s plot is about what it’s like to be married to a controlling douchebag whilst your psychopathic ex-boss wants revenge. I have to give the film props for originality because I don’t recall ever seeing a plot so shallow and full of nothing that it’s more repulsive than enticing. This entry, like Fifty Shades Darker, is written by Niall Leonard, the husband of the novel author E. L. James and if that film proved anything it’s that this team-up produces some hilariously awful writing. The way the lack of plot progresses is a mess, the dialogue goes to laughably bad places, and the implementation of a thriller subplot is horrendous to where I honestly didn’t expect anything better (if the helicopter kerfuffle in the last film is anything to go by). Lets break down this finale and give the franchise a fitting goodbye.
As with the last film in the series there’s barely any focus in the plot, the first two thirds of the movie isn’t really about anything specific other than the married life of Christian and Anastasia Grey who go on vacations. The thing is there’s nothing new with this relationship, they still have spontaneous sex, Christian is still overly intrusive of Anastasia’s life, and Anastasia’s character is still unbelievably hooked on this douchebag of a guy. The only sense of progression in their relationship is that they now fully understand each-others sexual desires. And HOLY FUCK, there’s a moment in here where Christian takes Anastasia to his private jet and she is genuinely surprised he has one. Are you going to tell me that after all of the bullshit of the last two films she didn’t think he’d have his own jet? Get the fuck outta here.
I don’t know about you but the adventures of being married to an absolute tool isn’t interesting enough to fill a feature length film, and it seems that’s exactly what the writers think too. There’s a cliche crime thriller subplot woven into this story at one or two moments in the first two acts and then is the centrepiece of the climax of the franchise for some dumbass reason. It’s so awfully executed that it fits in with the franchise brilliantly. A lot of what happens with this subplot doesn’t really make sense and the reasoning for all of these happenings is beyond ridiculous. There’s no life in this story, it’s just a slow dull feature film soap opera with sex and somehow less engaging characters. OH! And theres a moment in here that makes me want Anastasia to headline her own Need for Speed or Fast and Furious spinoff because who knew she turns into Vin Diesel behind the wheel.
The dialogue is all sorts of bad, lazy, and laughable. Next to none of what is being said feels natural, every line between Christian and Ana feels scripted and you never feel like you’re watching a real married human couple converse. The delivery from Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson isn’t spectacular but with the shit they’re given to work with I don’t blame them. Even Dakota who in the beginning of the franchise looked as though she was trying to bring something to her character has just completely given into the fact that any effort here would be wasted. If there’s a fourth film where it’s revealed Christian Grey is a soulless being from another realm I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest because the character is simply lacking of any evident personality. But hey, it’s about time for a positive and that is that despite how messy and unfocused the plot is, there is ever so slightly more cohesion than the last film…. take it or leave it people. There is a decent soundtrack but its presence can’t be used to praise the movie because it’s not at all integrated into the story whatsoever. It has no bearing on what is going on and plays out like a music video where you could insert any ‘greatest hits of’ album and the film itself won’t be any better. But really it’s because I couldn’t possibly knock down Hailee Steinfeld‘s “Capital Letters”. I also do appreciate the slightly lower runtime as it means less of my time is wasted on this thing.
But look, as much as it is so damn easy to shit all over this franchise you can’t really fault the decisions made here from a business standpoint. The filmmakers found their niche audience with the first film and decided to stick with what has been working this whole time as its been turning in a profit. So really if you look at what the writers and director James Foley set out to do with this film they accomplished their goals and got the results they wanted. They knew critics would bash it, they knew a general movie-going audience wouldn’t go to see it, but they also knew the audience they established with the first two films would return and clearly they did so well done I say. But that being said, I don’t have that fan approach so to me it’s an unenjoyable yet laughable piece of crap I am thrilled to see disappear.