"Fifty Shades Freed" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
"Don't Miss the Climax" is the tagline for the finale of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy, and I would say that sort of rings true as this film does deliver on the promise of being the best climax in the entirety of the trilogy. In fact, I think the filmmakers learned from their past mistakes in the previous two, and sort of corrected them to a degree for this final installment. Going from a film solely focused on one of its main characters being a sexual deviant and now getting to a place concerned with car chases and kidnappings, the series takes a big leap for its final outing, presenting perhaps the best entry into the trilogy.
Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) have finally reached their happily-ever-after, becoming a married couple and living their lives together as husband and wife. They being to navigate their new lives together, trying to figure out how to live with each other and work through certain things in their relationship. However, that all goes down the tube when a scorned man from their past makes a return, hellbent on trying to destroy everything Christian and Ana have worked so hard for.
The first film had very little plot and sex scenes few and far between; the second film had too much story and way too many sex scenes. They sort of hit the perfect balance with this one, delivering an interesting and compelling plot that can coincide with the sexual nature of the movie. Sure, there are sex scenes here that are very well shot, but they don't take up a sole purpose of the story. At the same time, they sort of show the abusive and toxic nature of how Christian operates at times, which I thought was a very welcome choice for them to include.
I had my complaints with the chemistry between Dornan and Johnson in the second film, but they seemed to be back on track here. While they simply can't beat their chemistry that was present in their first outing, it is a definite step-up from its predecessor. I think they're a lot of fun to watch here, and then they are excellent in their fight scenes. Consider the moment where Christian barges in on Ana while getting dressed after a heated argument the night before that left Christian storming out of their penthouse apartment. They are great at delivering their lines of dialogue while also showing the hurt and anger in their voices and facial expressions.
I know many have complained about the plot, saying themes and events like this have no excuse to be in a film like the ones James Foley has crafted. But, I believe the contrary, and I think they were welcome additions to the overarching story. Eric Johnson, who plays the antagonist Jack Hyde, does a decent job of playing the threatening villain, and I liked how the story really showed the evolution of the character's plans over the course of the movie.
At the same time, the plot moves very quickly and at a really nice pace, contrary to the film before this one. While the second movie sort of seemed like a lot of ideas thrown all over the place, this seemed much more like a movie that is able to move through these events seamlessly and smoothly, sort of connecting most of the events in a very nice way.
This isn't a fantastic film, but it is a major step-up in this franchise. I think they provide a satisfying ending to this story that is also a very enjoyable and decent movie. While they had their ups and downs throughout the course of the trilogy, I applaud the filmmakers and cast for bringing these novels to life, which certainly wasn't a very easy task.