By Jeremy Butler
The world’s most erotic novel series is coming to an end with the release of the final chapter, 50 Shades Freed. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan reprise their roles as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, as the pair enters wedding bliss. Their romance has been a whirlwind, going from meeting to marriage in what seems to be less than six months. However, when it’s right, it’s right; besides, it’s rare that you find someone with the same taste, if you know what I mean. Naturally, happily ever after won’t come as easily as our couple will have to face an old enemy and a new challenge that could threaten to tear the two of them apart.
The story wastes no time getting to the moment that the audience was waiting for, as we encounter the pair on their wedding day, exchanging their vows. From there, it is jet-setting across the world in what has to be the world’s most expensive honeymoon. However, their fairy-tale ending is still a long way off as Ana and Christian receive news that her former boss and predator, Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), has broken into Grey Enterprises and set off an explosive. Christian is forced to reveal to Ana that Hyde appears to be obsessed with the Grey family and has been targeting them.
Despite the threat that Hyde poses, their relationship continues at a steady pace, as the two learn to compromise and accept each other’s needs, including frequent trips to the Red Room as well as other more public surroundings. For Ana, her life, both personally and professionally, is everything that she could possibly have imagined and more. It is then that she receives the most life-changing news that anyone can ever receive; something that will not only change her life but also alter the fate of her relationship with Christian forever.
Fans of the book series will surely be satisfied with this conclusion to the film series, as I believe it closely mirrors the events of the novel. Die-hard fans will also love Ana’s new attitude in this film, as she fully embraces her confidence as well as her position at her Christian’s side. Dakota Johnson excels as the former shy girl that now takes no crap from anyone as evident in her scene with Gia Matteo (Arielle Kebbel), where she doesn’t hesitate to put the woman in her place for flirting with Christian. Speaking of Christian, the audience will also notice the power dynamic shift in this film. The role started to change in the last film with Christian realizing that despite them being incompatible in the Dominant-Submissive relationship, in this film it is very clear who is in charge. That is not to say that Christian is fully accepting of this change, and there will be plenty of friction, which makes for entertaining scenes as well as leading to trips to everyone’s favorite room.
I found the film to be entertaining, albeit predictable in some areas. Dakota Johnson without question is the selling point for the film. Her chemistry with her co-star, Jamie Dornan, is an important factor as well, but Johnson shows a level of confidence and strength that will have you question how she was ever able to even act as a submissive. Granted, she was not good at being submissive, and she continues to be defiant this time around, even being as so bold to say when questioned about her defiance, “learn to live with it.”
The story unfolds in an even fashion with the threat of Jack Hyde driving the plot forward. Johnson is very fitting in his role of the egomaniacal sexual deviant. Kudos to the makeup department for the strung-out look that they applied to the character, which helped to show just how far he has fallen. His genius seemed just a bit over-exaggerated to me until we discovered that he attended Stanford on scholarship. Additionally, his grudge against the Grey family seemed out of place. I mean, understood he wanted to get back at Ana for his perceived slights, but other than that, he appeared to be more focused on making Christian pay. Fortunately, an explanation for his obsession is provided for us non-readers of the book.
Fifty Shades Freed is the guaranteed box office winner this Valentine’s Day weekend. Couples will be flocking to theaters in mass to set and watch the end to this trilogy. Hardcore fans will be satisfied with how the story ends. And the suspense of knowing whether or not Ana and Christian get their fairy tale ending will bring in even more people.
(3 out of 5 Stars)