LEADER REVIEW: “50 Shades Freed” at long last frees audiences from ever having to watch this series again

Internet photo   Dakota Johnson reprises her role as the newly wed Anastasia Grey in the third film in the “Fifty Shades” series.

Internet photo

Dakota Johnson reprises her role as the newly wed Anastasia Grey in the third film in the “Fifty Shades” series.

By Andrew Cripe, Movie Critic

Altogether, the “Fifty Shades” film trilogy is 348 minutes of insufferable people getting everything they want. 

It’s impossible to understand why these films are so successful. Is it because of the sex? It can’t possibly be, as readers of the novels probably conjured up more exciting imagery in their heads than any of these films cinematically did. 

Could the appeal, then, be the chemistry between leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan? That’s even less likely, as the two of them have chemistry so stilted and a connection so distant that you’d feel more comfortable watching two scarecrows make friction. 

Of all the films, “Fifty Shades Freed” gives the fewest shits about personality, consistency, and anything resembling a plot. 

The film starts with Christian (Dornan) and Ana (Johnson) finally getting married, and the viewer quickly finds out that this was the only notable thing the film had up its sleeve. 

Most movies are driven by suspense, tension, and complex motivations that leave the viewer anxiously wondering what will happen next. But “Fifty Shades Freed” isn’t most movies. 

“Freed” will instead entice you with scenes of characters parallel parking spotless, expensive cars, buying clothes, and travelling. Not your thing? Don’t worry, you also get scenes where they drive over the speed limit (for all you action junkies out there). 

 The most agonizing thing about “Fifty Shades Freed” is that it won’t devote itself to a conflict. It has multiple subplots to choose from that had potential to spice up the non-humping scenes: Christian’s dark past, Anastasia’s rocky adjustment to married life with a sadist, the creepy boss from the last movie who’s out for revenge. 

The film picks none of these to make any kind of big deal out of. Midway through this film, a genuinely interesting development arrives, one that could threaten the union between the Greys. It shows up gift-wrapped and begging director James Foley to make something of it, but neither he nor screenwriter Niall Leonard acknowledge the opportunity.

Instead, the film is more concerned with showing you endless scenes of the bottomlessly rich frollicking and serenading each other. Christian can pretty much buy the planet if he wanted to, so much of the film’s runtime is him giving Ana gifts, taking her on vacations, and coercing her into having the most pathetic, cringe-inducing, milktoast sex ever put on film. 

A disturbing but compelling movie exists somewhere in this lifeless trilogy. The film could have told the story of the real Christian Grey: a twisted, rich sadist who can only perform sex after spending millions of dollars. 

A man who, unless he spends five minutes tying up and spanking a woman whom he demands call him “master” will be pushing rope till doomsday. 

That isn’t a pleasant movie, but it isn’t “Freed,” which tries to make you believe Christian is a nice, desirable, ideal husband and eventual father. The film is so thick-skulled and inattentive it doesn’t seem to realize how disgusting the messages it conveys about love and relationships are. “Fifty Shades Freed” shouldn’t exist.