First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes… Champs-Élysées bicycling, dangerous Audi driving, arson in the Grey Enterprises server room, and Mr. Grey serenading his new wife with Maybe I’m Amazed at a grand piano (Jamie Dornan’s version of the Paul McCartney tune is even on the soundtrack). Also, there’s a diabolical madman intent on kidnapping.
While the final film in the Fifty Shades franchise will satisfy those into the “playroom” scenes – which include a red velvet-lined drawer of brand new toys, all lined up like fine cutlery (you must begin a dish with the correct utensil, after all) – the story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Fanning) and her bondage devotee beau Christian Grey (Dornan) focuses on the plot of Ana’s maniac ex-boss, who has some fiendish plans (and free run of the red eyeliner).
Director James Foley understands the Fifty Shades audience is over any beating around the bush, so the sex scenes are shorter but far more potent, and more screen time is given to Ana’s satisfying smackdowns of flirtatious somebodies. There’s also a hammy spotlight on the thriller elements, like a knife-to-neck struggle in the Grey penthouse, and the aforementioned car chase.
Christian is still irritatingly controlling, but maybe he has more noble motivation this time? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. In a nutshell: entertaining like Get Smart, but with expensive sauce.
In cinemas: February 8, 2018
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Jamie Dornan, Rita Ora
Directed by: James Foley