Well, we made it.
After three years, we’ve reached the end of the “Fifty Shades” trilogy with “Fifty Shades Freed.” But, before we examine this cinematic equivalent of a wet blanket being dropped onto the sidewalk from a third-story window, let’s take a look back, shall we?
I actually didn’t hate “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It arrived with a bit of an edge as, at the time, it seemed daring to make a film adaptation of a book that introduced an entire generation of Kindle-toting women to bondage and literary erotica.
What we actually got was more dull than hot as our two miscast leads tried to conjure up some chemistry in a movie that wound up ultimately playing it fairly safe. Oh sure, I saw the appeal of an innocent student with the ridiculous name of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) getting swept up in the world of handsome, kinky billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).
I even argued in a vacuum, “Fifty Shades of Grey” was actually a good movie in that it ended with Anastasia establishing her independence and walking out the door, and getting far away from this crazy, domineering rich guy. You go, girl!
Alas, we all knew two more movies would follow and we would wind up right back where we started. “Fifty Shades Darker” came and went as a forgettable, if not slightly hotter, retread and, if we were lucky, “Fifty Shades Freed” would be so kind as to do the same.
Unfortunately, it somehow got worse. Like, way worse. By trading sexiness for melodrama and then subjecting us to a kidnapping subplot that is exceedingly ridiculous even by Lifetime Network standards, this movie is almost unwatchable.
We pick up with Anastasia and Christian now married. They do some jet-setting, have some sex, and a half-hearted power struggle over Anastasia’s “career” as a book editor. Also floating around as the villain is Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson). We’ll set aside for a moment his motives are murky at best and instead ask the unanswerable question about how this guy’s prowess as a criminal mastermind fluctuates from that of Moriarty to Joe Pesci in “Home Alone?”
The first two “Fifty Shades” movies got a pass for being mostly harmless. “Fifty Shades Freed” delivers so much more pain than pleasure you might want to opt for a root canal or bikini wax instead. At least then you’ll have something to show for all the time you’ve wasted.
“Fifty Shades Freed” is rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, and language.