How Bad Is: Fifty Shades Freed (2018)?
The “Fifty Shades of Grey” title was meant to be a clever little allusion to moral ambiguity. Fifty Shades Freed cements that the grey is more apropos of “dull”.
My mother once told me (Editor’s note: naw, she didn’t): If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all. Sooooo… Fifty Shades Freed…
… Thank you for reading my review of Fifty Shades Freed!
Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) has finally tied the knot (well, he’s tied a lot of knots, but you know, THE knot) with Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). Their opulent honeymoon is cut short when a figure from Anastasia’s past comes knocking.
What Went Wrong
We usually look at three aspects of the film that sunk the ship. All three I present argue to the same underlying issue: Fifty Shades Freed is a garrish castle built atop a toxic waste dump.
This series doesn’t understand healthy relationships, consent, or the BDSM culture it apes.
Christian Grey is a petty, broken, entitled manipulator. He never dealt with the trauma of being abandoned/adopted, and he uses domination in every aspect of his life to fill in the missing part of his filthy little soul. Three movies in and he’s still up to his same old tricks.
Christian hordes information on Anastasia and everyone she’s ever known, yet goes into a rage if she keeps something from him. He keeps her like a pet in a pretty cage, and punishes her when she asserts her own person-hood. He uses sex as a weapon. Whenever he’s called out on his horrid behavior, he deflects, creates false dichotomies, and spends his way back into Ana’s good graces.
This couple should not be engaged in Bondage, Domination/Submission, Sadism/Masochism play. This isn’t role-playing when one side is “playing” the domination game 24/7. I’m likewise skeptical that Anastasia is in any real capacity to provide consent. He’s been “grooming” her for this from the moment they met.
Fifty Shades Freed (freed? hah!) tries to paper over this gross imbalance in a shabby, mealy mouthed manner, and that leads me to my next point:
Fifty Shades Freed uses Anastasia’s new status as “Mrs. Grey” to try and tell the audience “Hey, it’s all cool now, she has power and has grown into her own little sociopath!”.
That she can tell the sexy realtor to fuck off or boss around the bodyguard Christian MAKES HER TAKE SO SHE IS NEVER ALONE OUTSIDE OF HIS KNOWLEDGE is such a laugh. When you call out your abusive husband for weaponized bondage play, he should get himself therapy, not get you a new house. This argument that the only thing unequal between them was magically solved with her access to their shared bank accounts is insulting. It’s also dull.
Fifty Shades Freed (and its predecessors) are at their heart erotic fan-fiction about the have-all, aimed at the have-some. Fifty Shades is what upper-middle class soccer moms think escaping to the upper-class is like. Still the same old loveless marriage; but at least he’s rich, hot, and kinky. All the scenes of opulence and indulgence in this movie come straight out of a “Premium” Beer commercial. Fast cars, Aspen vacations, yada yada. Speaking of Kink…
The sex is as dull as dishwater.
This movie has already proven it doesn’t understand the relationship underpinnings of BDSM sex. It also thinks missionary sex with a blindfold on is kink. No matter what the setup, the sex is always bland old “guy on top thrusting away for ten seconds”. Foreplay is rushed and the tension of bondage play is never used to up the eroticism (no surprise: the bondage is always about weaponizing sex). Christian at one point whispers to Anastasia “I want to drive you crazy”. I guess I’d go crazy if I never got satisfying sex, so mission accomplished!
There’s better looking sex on HBO, and some French “documentary” on Libertines has more eroticism. Skip this trash.
What It Got Right
This is a terrible, insulting, dull movie. It takes boring, horrible people (played by boring actors), puts them in boring, horrible positions, and resolves everything with trite displays of wealth and groan inducing “plot twists”.
How Bad is It?
I should be more mad than I am at Fifty Shades Freed. It’s repugnant at it’s core, but the rest was so vapid and dull that I left the film like a zombie. It took me a day to generate any real opinion of the film other than “two hours worth of light hit my eyeballs”. Everything it steals from would be a better watch. A Soap Opera is more fun with it’s outrageous plots juxtaposed against the actors’ complete dedication to Kayfabe. European erotica does risque sex with more class and respect. And there’s no romance to be had here, so it’s not even a decent “chick-flick”.
So being neither hot nor cold… you get the point. I’m done wasting time on this movie.