- Thin, boring plot strung together by uninteresting and unnecessary scenes
- Strangely placed and unsexy sex scenes, with nearly no BDSM (despite it being the initial draw)
- Iffy acting and bad writing compliment each other
- An underwhelming ‘climax’
It wasn’t too long ago that Fifty Shades of Grey was a common subject of conversation (and ridicule). Originally written as fan-fiction to Twilight, it became a pop icon and made a huge impact – at least that’s what it seemed to be at the time. Still, as with many initially popular things, it proved to be just a fad; a saucy gimmick that soon lost its novelty. At first a graphic, poorly-written book, then a graphic, poorly-made film, the Fifty Shades series was ripe for laughter and fun (even though most of the fun was laughing at how awful it was). This was however a single joke, one that wore thin by the second film (and second book). Still, people don’t like giving up too easily, and somehow these films have profited enough to warrant the third and final film – its ‘climax’ as the tag line jokes. So does this film give us a climax to end on a high?
We pick up soon after the events of Fifty Shades Darker with Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Ana (Dakota Johnson) making their vows and getting married. Their luxurious honeymoon is cut short, however, when Christian is told his company is subject to a break-in. They try to enjoy and adjust to married life, but things aren’t perfect. Differences and complications arise between Ana and Christian and there seem to be some shady people following the kinky couple, with malicious plans.
It’s difficult to recount much of the plot since it’s absolutely not the top priority (then again, it’s tough to tell what any priorities were). It’s largely a few weak plot points that somehow culminate in an underwhelming thriller-esque climax. Of course all these plot points are strung together by dull conversations and embarrassingly awkward sex scenes that seem forced and just shoved in as an after-thought – almost as if they made the whole film and only realised at the end that it was Fifty Shades and they need some sex somewhere.
God knows what happened to the BDSM either. Other than one very tame and brief scene, it’s almost no where to be seen. Softcore has never been so soft. Not that I’d have enjoyed it with more hard sex scenes, but since that’s the initial draw for the audience, they ought to feel fairly cheated that the film really doesn’t deliver on its promise. As beautiful as Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are, their sex scenes together are rarely sexy. Not even the circumstances in which they get it on are sexy; whereas porn finds turn-ons in plumbing and pizza delivery, Fifty Shades Freed finds turn-ons in eye-rolling and ice cream.
It’s a shame also that the characters of Christian and Ana are so bland. This isn’t to say that it’s all down to the failings of the actors; Johnson and Dornan have certainly proved their talents, but in other projects. Perhaps the fault instead lies at the director James Foley and writer Niall Leonard, for having an uninteresting story with blandly drawn characters. Still, it was always going to be a challenge considering from where they had to draw their material. The cringey acting compliments the bad script, both proving awkward and dull.
Fifty Shades Freed is just about as bad as you would expect. With a lacklustre story, poorly drawn characters, sluggishly slow pace and unsexy, forced sex scenes, it doesn’t matter how attractive the leads are or how funny it all is, this is just proof that sometimes fan-fiction should just remain fan-fiction.