#REVIEW: “FIFTY SHADES FREED”
Picking-up right where we left-off with 2017’s Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed reunites us with our favourite kinky billionaires Christian (Jamie Dornan) & Anastasia Grey (Dakota Johnson) post-marriage. James Foley (House of Cards, Glengarry Glen Ross) helms this installment, a finale to the best-selling Franchise.
We find Christian and Anastasia playful in their power struggles as they adjust to their new life now as a married couple. Whether it be Anastasia not taking Christian‘s surname professionally much to his chagrin or the little secrets that they hide from one another, these little disagreements build-up just enough of that sexual tension to keep things as steamy as ever between the two.
Things take an unexpected twist when the vengeful Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) resurfaces, threatening to harm Anastasia but what remains a mystery are his true motives. At once, Anastasia learns that she is expecting, which neither Christian nor she are ready for. This throws another obstacle in what already has been a litany of threats to their relationship over the course of three Films.
Despite their commitment to the Franchise, it is clear Johnson and Dornan both are ready to move on. In a way they truly are “freed” now from a Franchise that had their characters spiraling further and further away from plausbility. Dornan for example performs a musical number here for no rhyme or reason. That being said, the Soundtrack once again is phenomenal with contributions from Bishop Briggs, Sia, Julia Michaels and more.
While the love scenes are as plentiful and flirtatious as ever, we just don’t feel that same intensity and vulnerability we did from Anastasia when the Franchise started-on a somewhat promising note and this was a huge draw for us. It feels as though the second and third installments have been forced to function off diminishing plot lines, threaded together by copious love scenes. Case in point, the scene-stealing Arielle Kebbel comes in like a hurricane as fiery architect Gia Matteo, but then disappears inexplicably from the story. Family come and go without any real purpose and a pivotal moment where Anastasia confronts her tormentor Jack, falls flat ultimately, never quite feeling as dangerous as it should.
True fans of the Franchise perhaps will find comfort in its fairy tale ending and might even be touched by some of the Film’s tender moments of affection. We hoped however for everything to culminate into something grand, but that never quite happens.
Universal Pictures Canada release FIFTY SHADES FREED Friday, February 9, 2018.