After Fifty Shades of Grey took the box-office by storm in 2015, now comes the sequel everyone was waiting for with Fifty Shades Darker.
To say that the critical reception of Fifty Shades of Grey was harsh would be an understatement. Every review I looked at just bashed the movie to the ground. But there was one redeeming quality, the sex scenes. There weren’t many in the first film, but the camera work and the direction of each of those scenes told a story of their own that was much more compelling than the rest of the storyline. The movie knew its appeal and exploited it. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Fifty Shades Darker.
***WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW***
The film picks up right after Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) break-off their relationship and go their separate ways. In the first few minutes we see Ana’s state after the break-up. The movie tries to convey Ana’s emotions through the use of music, but it’s ineffective. This is a problem that persists throughout the film, which I believe lies with its non-existent storyline and its hideous writing.
After we see Ana moping around for a few minutes, she goes to her friend’s art exhibit. It is there where she encounters Christian, who asks her out for dinner. At the restaurant, Christian cuts to the chase and tells Ana he wants her back and is willing to let go off his extracurricular activities. The reconciliation takes all but five minutes and goes straight to what I believed would be the strong-suit of the film: the sex scenes. Needless to say, I was wrong.
Unlike the first movie that knew its major appeal, this movie tries to shy away from it. It tries to take itself seriously and that’s where it falls apart. The sex scenes in this film were given the same amount of care and consistency as the plot. Where Fifty Shades of Grey was able to at least make the sex scenes work, Fifty Shades Darker could not. There were times where the scenes were cut abruptly or just felt rushed. Its was as if the movie was trying to get away from the sex scenes as quickly as they could to focus on the plot. But the plot was worse. This movie didn’t know whether it wanted to be a thriller, a drama, or a romantic comedy. It was all over the place. The added elements to the plot like the stalker ex-girlfriends and the immoral boss do nothing to change the plot or the characters..
Overall, I tried to keep an open mind and tried to have fun with this movie. I did manage to have some fun with my friends while watching it, but that in no way makes up for the disaster that is this movie. The plot, the acting, and even the sex scenes were three steps down from the first one. Perhaps if E. L. James had kept the same director and screenplay writer from the first movie this one wouldn’t have turned out to be a total failure all around.