This is your fault. You, the movie-going public. You ignored me and 75% of critics and went to see Fifty Shades of Grey. It made a lot of money, so now this sequel has been foisted upon us.
When we last saw Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) she was in an elevator, dramatically leaving her abusive lust interest, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Spoiler alert #sorrynotsorry. Well, some amount of time has passed and they’re bound to get together again. Get it? Bound? Never mind…
The first film was utter garbage. If you didn’t see it, and this new one has you wondering if you should go back and give it a visit, read my review first and save your brain cells, your dignity, and your human decency from assault. That said, the trailers for this one seemed to indicate, at least, a higher quality garbage than previously. Could that be?
Nothing much has changed from the last story to this one. Despite being adamant about not wanting to be controlled and that Christian is bad news for her, Ana is lured back to him in the blink of an eye. The reason? A super creepy invasive, controlling show of non-self restraint and a desire to own her. That and supposed promise that he was a changed man. You know, despite that super creepy invasive, controlling show of non-self restraint and a desire to own her that he just displayed five minutes before. Yep, totally changed.
Somehow the relationship seems less toxic than before. It’s not, but we’re told it is by both characters so many times that we start to believe it. Ana displays an admirable “no means no” attitude, but constantly ignores her own advice while Christian gets around it by simply convincing her with a word or two. Not to mention how she goes from “I want to take things slow” to “I like running” in a matter of minutes.
Ana likes sex and being told what to do, even if she pretends not to. Christian likes sex and telling people what to do. Apparently that’s all two people need to be drawn to one another irresistibly because other than that and Ana feeling important and Christian wanting what he can’t have, there is still nothing whatsoever to indicate that these two actually have any reason to be together.
Speaking of sex, there’s a lot of it. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the material, but really. There’s a lot of it. It’s apparently the only thing to do. Bored? Sex. Excited? Sex. Scared? Sex. Woke up and the sun rose for another day? Sex. Their desire, libido, and ability defies physics and decency. I suppose the fact that their frequent encounters seem rather brief would help explain some of that.
If there is anything this movie improves upon from the first it’s that some of the sex scenes are actually, you know, sexy. And some of the scenes actually venture into more kinky territory than an ice cube in a navel, but don’t come close to actually being shocking. Most of them still range from awkward to boring to laughable, but a few of them get to the point they were going for. Though they almost seem to be more geared towards men instead of the target demographic. Perhaps a byproduct of switching to a male director. Dornan and Johnson have at least gotten better at pretending they actually enjoy one another and seem to have accepted what it is they’re in and are going with it, clunky dialogue and all.
And oh the dialogue is clunky. Most of it involves one person stating the obvious and another person doing the same. That and things that might have sounded sexy in someone’s head, but should never, ever, be said out loud. We jump from one laughable scene to another – scenes that you can easily understand existing in poorly written fan fiction but defy logic in how they ever got put into a major motion picture.
There is a tiny bit more of a plot going on this time around – we actually have some antagonists that threaten to do bad things. But nothing much comes of those plots, at least not yet. The rest of the side characters are so unimportant and unmemorable I don’t even know who they are or why they’re here or if they were in the previous movie. The relationship between our two main characters has matured only inasmuch that they say it has – it’s still a rotten dangerous mess. Especially once we learn the actual reason why Christian got involved with her to begin with. Ana should be emulating the “Nope Octopus,” but instead she curls up with this psychopath, feeling important and wanted by a man she can CHANGE.
Still garbage. Maybe a little more tolerable garbage than before, but its rotten eggs vs spoiled milk. A 1.0 vs a 1.2. If this film had to exist, it should have just embraced it’s talentless roots and employed Tommy Wiseau to direct. He could have created something truly…special. Ah well. Please don’t see this movie.
Mrs. Hamster and Brother Hamster wisely refused to screen this film
My rating: One out of five hats
Fifty Shades Darker slips into 3,710 theaters February 10