Movie review: Fifty Shades Freed
If 2015's Fifty Shades Of Grey was the cinematic equivalent of foreplay, and its 2017 sequel Fifty Shades Darker, intercourse, then this concluding chapter of the trilogy likes to think of itself as the climax.
Now that the job is finished, I can honestly say it didn't do much for me.
The sequel tries to sell itself as a skilled lover, and while there are moments that arouse interest and indulgence, I desired, needed, expected, more.
It was going through the motions as a money-spinning production, just as I was going through the motions as a fan who experienced guilty pleasure from the books and Sam Taylor-Johnson's first film and hoped to relive the original feels.
Fifty Shades Freed kicks off with what fairy tales are made of, what girls and women spend their lives fantasising over.
Ana snares her dream man, gets hitched in the dream wedding grown, is whisked away on dream holidays, has a dream sex life... you get the picture.
And for the men in the audience, there's "nothing but boobs in boob land" (Ana's quip, not mine) for you.
Johnson and Dornan are gorgeous specimens who continue to try their darndest at sustaining momentum and spark in and out of the bedroom.
But at times, their chemistry appears so forced, you can't help but cringe.
Gone too are the dirty romps, which feel almost routine now.
Throw in some standard domestic drama, like an unplanned pregnancy, and these two become even less interesting as a couple. One might think that in a post-Harvey Weinstein era, a movie about a woman who enjoys being restrained and dominated and surrendering to masculine authority is deeply problematic.
But the final act predictably gives its target demographic simplified, surface wish fulfilment again. Ana becomes a woman on top, empowered and in control of her man, successfully converting Christian to her terms and saving him from his dark, BDSM impulses.
Just as the tortured hunk is finally free from his bondage, so am I from the relationship I have with this franchise.
And that's a happy ending.
MOVIE: Fifty Shades Freed
STARRING: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora
DIRECTOR: James Foley
THE SKINNY: Believing they have left behind shadowy figures from their past, newlyweds Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) fully embrace married life together. But just as she steps into her role as Mrs Grey and he relaxes into an unfamiliar stability, new threats could jeopardise their happy ending before it even begins.