The final chapter in the “Fifty Shades” series arrives with Universal Pictures’ Fifty Shades Freed. Anastasia “Ana” Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Doman) are in a blissful mood as their wedding day opens the film. Believing they have left behind shadowy figures from their past, newlyweds Christian and Ana fully embrace an inextricable connection and shared life of luxury. But, just as Ana steps into her role as Mrs. Grey and Christian relaxes into unfamiliar stability, new threats jeopardize their happy ending.
Director James Foley and screenwriter Niall Leonard return from the previous film Fifty Shades Darker. Foley and Leonard cater to what the audience wants to see in the movie. Now as a male, I’m not the intended audience for this franchise, just as I wasn’t for the young adult adaptions of Twilight and Divergent.
I have always taken the “Fifty Shades” series at face value. I go see the films with my wife and pretty much forget about them after leaving the theater. What I’ve always enjoyed about the film is the chemistry between Ana and Christian. Throughout the three movies, we’ve seen Christian grow from an emotionally, unavailable rich boy to a loving husband for Ana. Granted, Christian still has his issues when he doesn’t get his way and he still shows signs of immaturity. Given the character’s background, it’s part of his arc.
Ana, on the other hand, has gone from a meek virgin to a sexually confident woman. Ana has her independence as a career woman; but, being married to a controlling billionaire, Ana feels stifled by Christian’s rules and security. However, one of the film enjoyable moments comes when she defies him to make her point-of-view understood. Dakota Johnson pulled off these scenes with the same likable charm she has had since the franchise started. I’m looking forward to see what else Johnson will do after the hype from this franchise wears off.
Like most threequels, the film is flawed in some aspects. I did find some of the pacing of the film to be off. And, while I never looked at my watch, when the film doesn’t focus on Ana and Christian, it seemed to be lacking something. I found the villain Jack Hyde to be underdeveloped. Granted, he wasn’t that developed in the previous film, and that could have been the actor chosen.
Also, I enjoyed the soundtrack. Even though I’m not a fan of pop music, the songs chosen for the film worked in some of the critical scenes. The moment the movie was over, I was ready to hit iTunes to do some downloading.
Fifty Shades Freed is an enjoyable, guilty pleasure that closes the story of Ana and Christian. While the film series won’t gain any new fans from those who’ve hated the previous movies, fans of the book and the film series will leave the theater with a smile on their face.
Final Grade: B-