“Fifty Shades Freed,” the last cinematic adaptation of the trilogy by E. L. James, finalizes the romance series with marriage and melodrama, but it’s no surprise that the source material outshines the film once again.
In an effort to live up to the book series, the previous films, “Fifty Shades of Grey” (2015) and “Fifty Shades Darker” (2017) have put promiscuity, lust and love on the big screen unsuccessfully. While the books give a more detailed and developed story line that focuses more on the progressing romance and its complications, the movies tend to focus on the intimate affairs of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson).
The third and final movie, “Fifty Shades Freed,” attempts to develop the couple’s relationship beyond their sexual activities, but the basic story cannot replace the passion conceived in the first two films.
James Foley, who directed both “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed” showed his new intentions by changing his focus. He tried to create a deeper and more suspenseful plot instead of relying on lust to maintain interest. The previous films established an expectation and investment in fiery romance, so to see otherwise was disappointing.
This change in direction could have worked if done properly but its execution was unoriginal and sporadic. The couple gets married in the very beginning of the movie, and they are on their honeymoon living a happy life until trouble at home forces them to return to Seattle.
The typical marital arguments they have are not where the predictability lies. In the middle of the movie, a troubled character from the past stirs the pot with Steele and Grey, straining their relationship. The situation plays suspensefully but concludes quite anticlimacticly.
Aside from the plot holes and unoriginality, the two main characters have grown tremendously throughout the series. In “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Steele was a submissive and naive character who happened to stumble upon the wildly-sexual, sophisticated Grey.
In this movie, Steele and Grey switch roles. He creates a space for Steele to step out of her comfort zone and take the reins of the relationship. Her willingness to adapt in this new role adds growth to her reserved beginnings in the series.
In the first film, Grey is domineering and borderline abusive but in this movie he shows a softer, more “husband material” side as he tries to protect Steele from her past.
The soundtrack kept the otherwise derivative film engaging. Throughout the whole movie the music was upbeat, pleasant and very modern. Without its catchy songs, the movie probably would have lost its viewers.
The attention-grabbing music in the beginning of the movie did a great job setting the stage in times where there was no dialogue and mostly scenic shots. The album includes artists such as Hailee Steinfeld, Sia, Ellie Goulding, Liam Payne and Rita Ora.
“Fifty Shades Freed” could have used a more compelling story line and utilized its lustful potential to the fullest. Though the film franchise never lived up to the book trilogy, fans should stick to reading the well-written, imaginative books by E. L. James.