The Fifty Shades finale has finally arrived and I would say that the title, Fifty Shades Freed, is an apt one for sure. With this one viewers have finally been ‘freed’ of having to sit through another installment of a series that promised much but delivered little more than what could already be found in those fondly remembered skin flicks that turned up on pay cable in the wee hours of the morning during the heady years of the late 80s/early 90s.

Really the best thing about this series was that it made for a good score-keeping exercise in that the viewer could keep their minds engaged by keeping count of all the psychological flaws inherent in these characters. And to say there were more than a few is an understatement. Being that the plot in this trilogy of films was so thin and predictable there really wasn’t much else to do while waiting for the generic sex scenes that pop up on a regular basis. Of course everyone knows that the sexual titillation factor is really the only reason that people go to see these films in the first place.

A problem with these Fifty movies that was universally agreed upon by critics and the majority of audience members alike was that the two lead actors strangely had very little chemistry. That’s a real problem in a film that rises or falls on that sort of thing­—no pun intended. Chemistry can make or break a film and it’s a problem when there is little to none inherent in the lead performances. Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele seemed to be going through their paces and not much else. They hit the marks when necessary and that was about the extent of it. A balloon repeatedly rubbed against your head had more of a charge.

The chemistry between the two leads is somewhat improved here. It’s the best yet in this series but that’s not saying much. The film begins exactly where the last installment left off with Christian and Anastasia exchanging vows as Anastasia’s former boss, Jack Hyde, seeks revenge after she spurned his advances in the last film. The plot complications also involve Ana’s desire for a child and Christian’s insistence that he’s not ready to be a father. I always thought those types of things were typically discussed before the wedding but never mind.

FSF has just enough plot to keep the viewer engaged and of the three films it’s certainly the best one. Still, when the bar has been set so low that’s faint praise. Well at least viewers have been FREED. For that we can be thankful.

This movie playing in Hickory.
Images: Johnson & Dornan in Fifty Shades Freed

Questions or comments? Write Adam at [email protected].