Review - 'Fifty Shades Darker'
This movie wasn't made for me, I know that. That said, I can enjoy a good romance when it's done correctly. Fifty Shades Darker is a film that is shot competently, but has virtually nothing else going for it other than a mildly appealing performance from Dakota Johnson.
Fifty Shades Darker sees Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) reuniting after a short-lived separation. Basically the rest of the film is them ironing out the issues in their relationship and having lots of sex in-between. Oh, and there's a psycho girl that's really jealous of what they have. Yup, that's the plot.
This movie's plot is pretty much non-existent. Fifty Shades Darker is just a sequence of random events that only serve the purpose of segueing into sex scenes, of which there are numerous. I didn't like the first film, but at least it kinda, sorta had a story to tell, even if it was no where close to being a good one. This film literally throws random scenes at you like a sleazy swinger rains dollar bills on a stripper, then, before you can even think about whether said scenes pertain to a plot you haven't quite figured out yet, Christian and Anastasia strip down and start doing their thing. What a cheap diversion tactic.
Dakota Johnson tries her best to elevate the poor material. I found her performance to be the closest thing to convincing out of everyone in the film. Anastasia is still shy, but she's coming out of her shell and displaying a new-found confidence that is believable, and that's all thanks to Johnson. Jamie Dornan, who reprises his role as the stone-faced Christian Grey isn't terrible, but man is he wooden in his delivery sometimes. I don't know if that's what the directors have told him to do, but it just doesn't work and makes this man seem all the more uninteresting.
This leads to another fatal flaw with this film; these two characters still have virtually no chemistry at all. I have no idea what Anastasia sees in this guy, which makes all of their intimate moments fail to connect on the level that they should. Anastasia's interest in the stone-faces Grey is baffling and undermines her character. I kept wanting to respect Anastasia, but she constantly gives in to this man that is obviously undeserving of her.
All of this said, I could maybe see this film working on a guilty pleasure level for some people. There's just so much going on that is meant to titillate and if you just want to have a trashy good time with your friends, it might serve you well, but be sure to be boozed up significantly beforehand.
Overall, Fifty Shades Darker is more of the same, only this time it's even more disjointed and unnecessary. There's an appeal to Dakota Johnson's performance and the film looks fine from a cinematic standpoint, but really, unless for some reason you found some kind of perverse pleasure in the first one, you should not come back for number two.