Well audience, it finally happened. In all of its kinky glory, so emerges the black butterfly from the fetid cocoon. Fifty Shades Free is out, and I can comfortably tell you that it is the hardest film of the three to write about.
Freed commits a cardinal sin in bad moviemaking: It’s profoundly boring. This movie reeks of the “Make three of them” mentality that media has adopted over the last fifteen years. There’s barely enough plot in this series to fill a thimble but bless her heart, EL James has painted an entire trilogy with it. Here we go:
The film opens with Christian and Ana’s wedding, which unlike the Twilight wedding is blissfully short but tragically contains no poorly dressed guests. They decide to honeymoon somewhere nonspecifically tropical, which brings up the first two problems in the film.
Problem the first: As they drive away from the wedding, Christian and Ana approach an airfield with a private jet. Ana exclaims, “You own this?!” to which Christian replies, lovingly, “No, we own it.” You guys, they didn’t discuss finances before they got married. Ana has no idea how much she’s now worth. Intriguingly, this also means that Christian never gave her a prenup before this, so when their marriage inevitably implodes Ana will be able to walk away to the tune of several billion dollars from Grey…LLC? Enterprises? I feel like the name of the company changed between films.
Problem the second: Remember Jack Hyde? Ana’s crazy, rapist boss from the last film? That’s okay, nobody else does either. But he’s back, and now inexplicably he’s a domestic terrorist. Hold on, be careful before you get too interested because this goes fucking nowhere. Jack Hyde sneaks into the Grey building disguised as a janitor and hacks into Christian’s server room before blowing it up with a bomb that’s somehow made out of an old steel flask. That’s not even a joke – I can’t get the screenshot, but if you ever have the misfortune of watching this movie, take a look, it’s a flask.
These questions carry me through the entirety of the film. Every time we have to sit through Christian and Ana fucking I’m wondering what Jack’s doing. Is he mining Bitcoin? Is he throwing some rouge on his lips and entertaining sailors down by the pier? Where does he get this money? What’s he up to now? Is he thinking about me, too?
Ana and Christian come home from their honeymoon because of the attack. Jack, I guess, stole some personal information on Christian, which he could have done without blowing up a server room and nobody would have suspected a goddamn thing, but hey, then we wouldn’t have a movie, Jack would win, and I would be happy.
Ana is introduced to her new private security team – a man named Sawyer, who’s cool, and…a woman. She has a name, but this series tends to spit out people who don’t accomplish anything, so we’ll just call her Woman #4.
Surprise! Christian bought a house without telling Ana, which is becoming increasingly distressing as they continue to, y’know, be married. It’s the house from the boat scene in the last movie. Don’t remember the boat scene from the last movie? There was a house in it! It’s…fine. Imagine asking a billionaire what a rustic cabin looks like and you’ve got the gist of it. Christian hires an architect to tear the whole goddamn thing down and put up a smart house, which is a great idea when your wife was making doe-eyes at it earlier because you know she was stoked about the value of the land and nothing else. The architect is pretty and hits on Christian, so Ana puts on her most intimidating face and tells her to knock it off, proving that she’s just as weird and jealous as Christian, I guess? I think this was supposed to establish that she could also put her big domly dom pants on sometimes, but Dakota Johnson delivered the whole speech at a low, mewling whisper like every line in this series, so it was about as intimidating as boxing someone with no arms. Architect lady acquiesces.
Sometime around now, Christian and Ana get into a discussion about whether or not they want children. Christian says he does, but at some point down the road because, and I’m quoting here, he’s not ready to share Ana with anybody else yet. With a child. His child. This man has a problem.
Jack Hyde, we’re told, continues to do some crazy Mission Impossible bullshit behind the scenes, which is ridiculous because that sounds like a much more interesting movie.
Christian goes away on business, because EL James can’t think of any other way to separate this couple. He insists that because Ana is being hunted by a psychopath that perhaps she should teleconference into work for the next couple days, but Ana is far too strong-willed to be held down by the oppressive wishes of her safety conscious husband. Which, look, I get it. Christian is an asshole. He tries to police every single aspect of Ana’s life, but like, in this one specific instance, maybe you ought to stay home and stop yourself from being murdered. Eagle-eyed readers may be able to figure out where this is going.
Ana ignores the wishes of her husband and goes out for a night of drinking with…a person. It could be anyone, really. You don’t care. Nobody cares. Existence is meaningless. They have a nice time.
As Ana returns home, she’s accosted in her living room by Jack Hyde, who pulls a knife on her before being subdued by Sawyer and Woman #4 and arrested. I start to wish the movie was about Sawyer instead, because he seems like a nice guy.
AND BY THE WAY, there’s a subplot about Ana’s secretary trying to seduce Sawyer, and they make eyes at each other for like half the movie and it goes fucking nowhere. In the movie where everyone is supposed to be fucking, Sawyer can’t get any. It’s a goddamn tragedy is what it is.
Christian comes home, sad that Ana exposed herself to domestic terrorism. Ana (correctly) points out that Jack attacked at the house, so staying home would have been no safer. She doesn’t want to feel like she lives in a prison, which is weird because she married Christian Grey. Christian gives in, and he, Ana, and their friends go on a trip to Aspen, Colorado. This takes about 20 minutes of the film and stone nothing happens. Christian’s brother gets engaged. Remember Christian had a brother? Me neither.
Jack gets out on $500 000 bail, once again raising the question of where the flying fuck Jack gets all this money. Jack claims that he had come to the house to talk things over with Ana, or something, which works despite three witnesses who can testify that he had a knife, and the knife being at the crime scene. In the most shocking of twists, Jack somehow kidnaps Christian’s sister Mia. He demands some money or he’ll kill her, so Ana grabs a gun and goes to the bank, asking for five million dollars. Not like, with the gun. The regular way. The gun is for Jack.
I feel the need to mention at this point that Christian Grey is a multi-billionaire. Billion. With a B. Asking for five million dollars is trivial. This is like me kidnapping your sister and demanding a ham sandwich.
Christian hears word that his wife is absconding with a paltry sum of his money and starts tracking her phone. Everyone follows her to where Jack and Mia are. Jack kicks Ana twice and she shoots him in the leg with the gun before blacking out. Christian and all the police show up and get Jack. Everyone is fine, including the baby, which they have. Roll credits.
There’s some more to it than that – Jack and Christian turn out to be from the same foster family, one of Ana’s coworkers is evil, and some other stuff, but you don’t care. Don’t lie to me, internet, I know you don’t. This movie makes no sense. I want to hope that the book makes more sense than this but I know it doesn’t.
The important takeaway here is that we’re done. Really, truly finished with Twilight, with Fifty Shades, the whole shebang. It’s over. We did it. We slogged through perhaps the worst seven movies ever made, and all for the sake of comedy. You know what? I’m gonna jinx it. I’m going to do it on purpose. I want to see what comes next; I want to know. So here goes:
There’s no way it could possibly get any worse.
Scott Watmough has many strong opinions about many things that he knows very little about. They're usually about video games.