Fifty Shades Darker Movie Review
The second entry of the Fifty Shades trilogy doesn’t expand on what Fifty Shades of Grey already showed us. Boring plot, boring sex scenes, it simply is boring!
Director: James Foley
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Bella Heathcote, Rita Ora, Victor Rasuk, Eloise Mumford, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harden, Andrew Airlie & Kim Basinger.
Run Time: 118 min.
US Release: 10 February 2017
UK Release: 10 February 2017
German Release: 09 February 2017
The review series of horror continues, with my analysis of Fifty Shades Darker leading up to Fifty Shades Freed, which I am going to see this week. Now, the first Fifty Shades flick as I explained in my review and my Worst Top 10 of 2015 post, was my least favourite movie of that year. This one, although a little better than the previous, continues that tradition by scoring a spot on my Top 3 worst of 2017. The trilogy is an adaptation of author’s E.L. James’ Twilight fan-fiction novels, which are written terribly!
!!! THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS !!!
A year after the events of Fifty Shades of Grey, Ana and Christian rekindle their relationship. Christian gave up on his BDSM lifestyle and promises Ana that this time around there are no rules or spanking as punishment. In the meantime, Ana’s new boss tries to sexually abuse her, an old submissive of Christian breaks into Ana’s home and Mr. Grey himself goes missing after a business trip.
James’ husband, who wrote the script, tried to add some thrilling moments to the bland plot but failed miserably at building any kind of tension. This is basically because most of the arcs are resolved fairly quickly, without the story being able to unfold. In fact, this film follows the same formula over-and-over again; relationship talks, a conflict that happens and a sex-scene that concludes the arc. I counted up to four of these miniature acts over the course of its two-hour runtime. Worse yet, it is not until 45 to 50 minutes into the story, that something remotely interesting happens but by then I had already lost any interest in watching this pseudo-romantic flick.
The worst narrative line, though, comes around the end, when Christian is reported missing after his helicopter malfunctioned. Anastasia is sitting in their penthouse-apartment with friends and family and follows the news reports about her lover’s disappearance when it is said that he was just found healthy and safe. Not one minute later does he make an appearance through the doors of the elevator into their penthouse, while the reporter is still talking about how Grey has been just found.
Then there is the sex scenes and dialogues themselves. Are they steamy? Sure, of course, but it isn’t sexy! The dialogues did improve, compared to the wooden and weird conversations they had in the first movie. The actors at least acknowledged the badly written script and went on to have fun with it, while filming. This makes for some involuntarily funny scenes. That said, the sex-talk is still very cringeworthy.
The characters are badly written and have no real development. All the men are trying to win over Anastasia’s affections in very creepy ways, while the women are jealous of her because they want to sleep with Christian Grey. There are up to three “love-triangles” popping up in this film and just as the “thriller-y” parts, they get resolved in mere minutes.
Anastasia “Ana” Steele keeps being the weak female lead that we saw in the first part. She can’t stick to a decision she made and let’s Christian control every aspect of her life, even though she clearly states that she doesn’t like his act of exerting control over her. What annoyed me most was how she draws Christian Grey back into the BDSM lifestyle, which he retreated fro, due to her leaving him for that exact reason! Then she gets mad at him again for having led such a life in the first place. Her decisions make no sense, no matter how you analyse them.
Christian Grey really crosses the boundaries of personal space in this movie. He stalks Anastasia, as a sexual predator would do, and he is unhealthily jealous of every male person that crosses her life. He is damaged goods and without applying sexual dominance quickly spirals into dangerous territory. Even Kim Basinger’s character says that he is a dangerous psychopath, who without the BDSM lifestyle would have ended up in jail a long time ago. Jamie Dornan gives a much better performance comparing his work in the previous flick.
James Foley directed this sequel and John Schwartzman operated as director of photography. This is once again a good-looking movie; the picture is sharp and the colours, contrasting the previous film, are more vivid, meant to symbolise Grey’s ability to develop emotionally, even though that isn’t true. The short action sequence with the helicopter is well shot and the CG used looks fine. Still, just because it is good looking, doesn’t make this a great picture.
The music used consists once again of modern covers of popular songs that are meant to set the mood for the sex scenes, although they frankly did the opposite.
Verdict: Fifty Shades Darker doesn’t add anything new to the franchise. It still is boring soft-porn, trying to be a dramatic-romance picture but nothing really happens along the full runtime of its two hours. Even the sequences that are meant to be gritty feel absolutely dull, as the scenarios are wrapped up in ten minutes and the tension has no time to unfold. It also includes one of the biggest ridiculous plotlines concerning a helicopter crash and of course we get more stale sex-scenes. The dialogue did improve but simply because it is unwillingly funny but Dornan does improve his wooden portrayal of Christian Grey, eventually smiling from time to time, though his character is still a creepy, psychopathic stalker. In the end, this sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey is still the same crap with a few improved aspects but that doesn’t save it from obtaining a 2.5 out of 10.
Thank you for reading and look out for my review of the final instalment in this trilogy. Who knows, maybe it will surprise us all.