The third and final instalment based on the popular books is perhaps the strongest of the trilogy – but still lacks in impact as situations come to a head. 

It has to be said that while the books and films have proven popular with audiences and readers alike, the Fifty Shades trilogy has also attracted a lot of negativity – particularly in terms of the character of Christian Grey and the way he dominates and attempts to control Anastasia (books) or the way in which the book has been adapted for film.

While there is still a slight element of this in the previous films, it has to be said that Fifty Shades Freed does attempt to readdress this balance by making Ana a more stronger personality on screen that makes it easier to like and respect her as a character, while Christian is changed slightly to becoming protective for Ana’s best interests.

However, it does have to be said that even though  Niall Leonard’s screenplay tries to add a sense of drama and tension to the plot – it is still painfully thin, with scenes flashing by too quickly as though it is in a rush to get to the end. Of course, part of the blame lies with the original book, which crams so much in that the film has to cut chunks out that then leaves some loose ends.

The film really comes to life when Eric Johnson’s character Jack Hyde takes sinister steps in his quest to have his revenge on both Ana and Christian. Johnson’s performance is suitably nasty, particularly seen during the scene in which he phones Anastasia he sounds almost reasonable making him even more dangerous. It is perhaps one of the most detailed and deep performances in the film, which can at times lack in character development elsewhere.

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia (as mentioned above) has given her character a hint more confidence and steel to the performance that shows just how far she has come – not intimidated by anyone particularly (and this is important) by Christian as her anger about his reaction to the baby proves. Yes, at times she does need a bit more conviction in some of her lines that perhaps highlights she isn’t fully comfortable in the role but is able to portray her character’s confidence when it is needed.

Jamie Dornan has had perhaps the most difficult job to try and portray Christian Grey in a relatively favourable light – particularly given his character’s fondness for certain extra-curricular activities. But it has to be said that he does do a decent job in trying to show the character’s vulnerability and complicated nature given his past.

But there is no getting around the fact that although the more intimate scenes have been sensitively filmed for the most part – they are still awkward to watch and take time away from the character development needed to make the film convincing as a romance. Yes, they are a big part of the appeal of the books but there comes a time when the film needs to move away from this element as these scenes then become slightly meaningless –  the audience need to be relied more upon to use their imagination.

All in all, Fifty Shades Freed isn’t a particularly strong film in terms of character development and plot but it is still mildly entertaining and ties up the trilogy nicely.

Fifty Shades Freed is available to buy now

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐