I know what you’re expecting. There are plenty of film critics that will call any Fifty Shades film a travesty of cinema or toxic, and you expect me to follow suit. I have my own approach to film, and if I am to call any film the worst ever it must do something spectacularly dreadful that destroys the entire film and viewing experience. Fifty Shades Freed is a bad film, but I don’t instantly mean that the film is derogatory to the whole of cinema, there are plenty of other films that fit that bill.
With the kind of reputation, the Fifty Shades films have we have to ask ourselves if there are any salvageable factors in the final chapter of this trilogy? If I had to pick the least worst aspect of Fifty Shades Freed, it would be the one element that I have managed to have a somewhat positive view on and that goes to the cinematography. I have no quarrel with the way the film lights its scenes or the positioning of the camera, I can’t say that it is masterful, but it does provide the film with some degree of effort put in to make the film and characters visually appealing at least. I’d even argue that if the film had taken out it’s over-reliance on music, the sex scenes that some would find disgusting and abnormal would become less unbearable.
There we are, we’ve covered the one reason to pay money to see Fifty Shades Freed, but in doing this you are also going to have to experience the myriad of problems this film has. The domination of a modern pop soundtrack destroys any enjoyment this film had to offer. It does nothing to help the steaminess of the sex scenes or the tension of its thriller-esque scenes, there is literally no reason for the soundtrack to exist in this film. Music in film is used to make the emotion of a scene feel much larger than it initially is, helping the audience enjoy the scene more. In Fifty Shades Freed, it feels as though they were used so that they could improve the sales of the films official soundtrack. It’s completely unnecessary and reveals the cracks in the films obvious motive to be financially successful.
The common misconception and stereotype people have with Fifty Shades is that it’s about S&M where in fact, the films have always been about the relationship of Anastasia and Christian (Dakota Johnson & Jamie Dornan). Even so, Fifty Shades Freed gives us this impression that they’re the perfect married couple, from Christian treasuring Anastasia with rich gifts to the weekends away to paradise on earth, but the foundations of their relationship built on throughout these films are on unrealistic circumstances and actions. Fifty Shades Freed doesn’t make any changes to rectify these problems, therefore we don’t have a chance to see Anastasia and Christian in a new light so our opinions of these two remains the same.
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have been in great projects besides the Fifty Shades films where they have proven themselves to be very talented, but their performances in Fifty Shades Freed has been the same as it always has been in these films, despite the fact they have seemed to loosen up a bit. I don’t blame them for it though, that goes to the poorly written script with dialogue as painful as the previous instalments. the script, whilst it has a better story than the last film, is very lazily written only showing Anastasia and Christian in married life. Where is the conflict? One could argue that the character of Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) stalking Anastasia is a conflict but the script makes it feel like this side story when that story-line should be tearing Anastasia and Christen apart so to bring out what their character is like under an actual threat to their relationship. The delivery of the dialogue didn’t help either, both Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan deliver their lines as though their both out of breath and bordering on whispers. On the lighter side of things, they would be pretty good bedtime storytellers.
I was prepared to hate this film, but in the end, I just felt bored, a shoddy improvement but nonetheless still an improvement. But with most films like Fifty Shades Freed, I left understanding why people like this trilogy. I know people who genuinely like the Fifty Shades films and I don’t want to stop them from seeing Fifty Shades Freed if it makes them feel good and find them enjoyable. And I had a gun to my head and asked which film in this trilogy I preferred it would have to be this one. You can see evidence of the people involved much looser than the first and the actors have settled into the characters they are playing, but the big problems are still there. Critics like to exaggerate their opinions on these films and they will do with Fifty Shades Freed because of the views they’ll get for saying so. I’m just going to say it how I saw it, take it or leave it. Fifty Shades Freed is not an abomination, it’s just bad.