Fifty Shades Freed: Blu Ray Review
Let's be honest, nobody expects Oscar-calibre material from this mommy-porn book series.
And nobody really expects a critic's view of the film to quash the series that's galvanised female audiences and raked millions in here and abroad.
It is fair to say that the series' capper Fifty Shades Freed is perhaps not the film for fans of the franchise or for drama given how lacklustre and terrifically dull it plays out on screen.
At the end of Fifty Shades Darker, sub Ana Steele (played by Johnson, who finds the humour and humanity in some of her delivery) was betrothed to marry dom Christian Grey (Dornan, whose sole direction appears to be to act wooden throughout).
Fifty Shades Freed picks up the story, and rather than delivering a spanking capper to the franchise, it follows Christian and Ana's push-and-pull relationship as Ana tests the boundaries of marriage and Grey's expectations - while throwing in a laughable stalker plot and mountains of product placement.
Whereas the earlier films had a commitment to the central relationship, the problem with Fifty Shades Freed is its attempts to wrangle out conflict where there's little, drama that's underwhelming and has potential squandered and someone trying to jam all the narrative elements together with the skill of a 3-year-old trying to smash a jigsaw complete.
Things happen, then mesh into a highly choreographed music-driven sex scene, before morphing out into the wider story without any signs of cinematic finesse.
It doesn't help that in many ways, Fifty Shades Freed becomes a different tale of white privilege in the MeToo world. Most of the squabbles and in particular Christian's reaction to them seem petty and selfish. These are the personifications of first world problems in many ways.
Granted, this is supposed to be some kind of character arc for Mr Grey, but unfortunately, through Foley's lack of direction, Dornan's acting is wooden in extremis. What emerges is a problem that's dogged Christian's portrayal throughout the series.
By contrast, Johnson's Ana finds the humanity in her character, and as with previous films, brings it to the fore. She's been the star of this series and has risen above some of the more risible dialogue thrust upon her.
Ultimately, Fifty Shades Freed is a fizzer.
Complete with some unsexy sex scenes that perpetuate the male gaze (there's a constant surprise there's little equality here), sub-lots that drift and resolve without any tension, copious product placement and a lack of any real drama, Fifty Shades Freed is a limp flaccid end to the series.
Thankfully though, audiences have finally been freed of the shackles of this series.