Cinematic Releases: Anastasia Unbound: Fifty Shades Freed (2018) Reviewed

Admittedly, my eyes have been in the theater for all three of these 'films'. The first was out of interest. The second, out of choice. The third. Well, what can I say? I'm a completist. 

What started out with an amplified eroticism and boundary pushing campaign that fueled a new interest in floggers, whips, and chains seems to die a cinematic death that its followers will enjoy but will disappoint the casual movie goer. Fifty Shades Freed offers closure from which we should not see a spin off or any other projects related to this brand. We need to let this go. 

For the last several years, theaters have been treated to the softcore sexual antics of the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Based on the hugely popular string of books by E.L. James, the erotic tale of Anastasia Steele and her dominant lover Christian Grey brought women out of the woodwork to watch their relationship evolve on screen. Whether a fan or not, these movies have been a box office juggernaut that turned the world of BDSM into a major financial hit that strangely concludes at a time when the #metoo movement is hitting its much needed stride. Ending with more contrived elements about a jealous man that exists in the shadows, Fifty Shades Freed is the most disappointing of the series, which really isn't saying much. 

Perhaps the people that followed the books will be overjoyed at seeing Anastasia's dreams come true. Having not read those novels, I imagine that this ends the exact same way those did. The series has never been about pushing the envelope or making people think. They're routine. The third entry follows the same formula as the last two. Things happen. No important things. There are no real revelations. We get sex in the shower. We get food play on the kitchen table. We get some light spanking. And then a side story that involves a gun and a little bit of blood. Freed goes nowhere other than the safety zone. 

I'm all about realizing your fetishes,
but is this priest going to watch everything?

Yet, maybe we can rejoice at the palpable chemistry between Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. At long last, the two actors seem extremely comfortable here, finally fitting into the shoes of their onscreen counterparts. But gone are the moments of irresistible luster and fantastical moments of excitement. We're no longer surprised when Grey reveals how far his big money clutches extend. We now just expect that he has a plane, might be able to buy a mega mansion, and can travel the world without moving a finger. The days of wonder are over. This third film has become tame comparatively.

If you want to see the finale of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, you'll get something out of this. But it's the most boring of the three. By now we know that this was nothing more than an easy marketing gimmick that gave us very little character development over a full trilogy story arc. Anastasia is not much different than she was at the start. Christian is still a little boy trapped inside a man's body. I'd imagine that the female crowd that lusted after an onscreen control freak will be absolutely satisfied with the finality of the Freed. However, this guy feels free knowing that this lowball Cinemax series transposed to the cinema is finally over. The melodramatics are just too much for me. 

Don't forget. You can see this in IMAX. Yes, IMAX.