Fifty Shades movies have always earned the ire of critics, and it appears Fifty Shades Freed is no exception. The film has been getting some brutal and hilarious reviews. Based on EL James’s best-selling book series of the same name, Fifty Shades franchise tells the story of Anastasia Steele and her infatuation with 27-year-old Christian Grey, a charming entrepreneur unusually fond of BDSM. Fifty Shades Freed is the third and (one hopes) final iteration in the franchise.
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers wrote about the lack of sexual tension between the couple, “As it is, there is no movie regardless, just a series of glossy tableau that lacks even the vulgar charge of real porn. At this point, Johnson and Dornan can’t even go through the motions of spank-pant-rinse-repeat with any conviction. They look as bored as we are.”
Seattle Times’ Moira MacDonald concurred. “Johnson and Dornan’s performances are wooden and their chemistry nonexistent (particularly in the movie’s more-of-the-same sex scenes) but think of it all as ultra-deadpan entertainment and it kind of works,” she said.
Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty compared the film to 1990’s erotic thrillers and says that Fifty Shades Freed is even worse because it is pretentious. “Those (the 1990s’ erotic thrillers) films weren’t very good either. But they at least seemed to embrace their own trashiness without shame. They had a certain integrity about their awfulness. Fifty Shades Freed is certainly slicker than those carnal cheapies. But it seems embarrassed to embrace its own pervy nature. It’s kitsch that looks in the mirror and deludes itself into thinking it sees art staring back.”
Writing for the New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis quips, “As popular as this window-fogging franchise has become, its flaccid finale is likely critic proof. But if I can persuade just one of you to bypass its milquetoast masochism and watch the stratospherically superior “9 1/2 Weeks” instead, then I will have done my job.”
Uproxx’s Vince Mancini was dumbfounded by film’s bad writing. “Jesus, who wrote this, a 12-year-old? Fifty Shades Freed is meant to make us believe that a matching tea towel marriage doesn’t preclude shirtless Fabio romance novel cover sex, but everything is so catalog-ready and scrubbed free of humanity that it actually does the opposite. Monogamy and kinky sex are just another thing to dream about but never have, like a private jet and a vacation home in Aspen,” he said.
While the reviews are hilarious, nobody who has seen the first two films can pretend to be surprised by the limp reception.