Reviews

Fifty Shades Darker (2017): It’s Exactly What You Think it is

In the midst of a crowded weekend for movies making their theatrical release, here’s a review for the one film you should avoid at all costs, Fifty Shades Darker.  Despite my warning, I’d bet on a lot of you seeing this film, so this review will remain spoiler free so that you can enjoy all the partial nudity for yourself in the theater.

Background

Fifty Shades Darker is directed by James Foley and follows Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan reprising their roles of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.  The film begins shortly after the conclusion of Fifty Shades of Grey with Anastasia no longer seeing Christian.  However, after getting back together and making promises to each other to not harbor any secrets, Anastasia begins to learn that Christian’s past is a little darker than she once thought.

fifty shades darker
image via Huffington Post Canada

I’d like to think that I fall in line with most people in saying that Fifty Shades of Grey was a pretty terrible movie.  Aside from bashing the soft-core pornography in the movie, the film was just a complete bore, failing to create a compelling story line around the central relationship, which probably comes from the book being adapted from Twilight fan fiction, but I digress.

The film has literally one job: to give us a believable romance that creates for more steamy sex scenes, but the chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan was practically nonexistent in the first movie.  I feel somewhat bad for both these actors getting a lot of hate for these movies since they are very effective actors in other roles.  They just don’t seem to be given much to do with these terrible scripts.

fifty shades darker
image via Variety

But alas, Fifty Shades of Grey made over half a billion dollars worldwide, so it was obvious that a sequel was coming.  But is Fifty Shades Darker an improvement over the movie?

If you can believe it, Fifty Shades Darker is objectively worse.

What I Liked

Starting out with a positive, the connection between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan is noticeably better (although they really couldn’t get any worse), allowing you to watch the film without cringing at every word of dialogue they say to each other.

But that’s where the positives run out for this movie.

fifty shades darker
image via Variety

What I Didn’t Like

I really had trouble supplying a plot synopsis for this movie earlier in the article, mostly because the film realistically has no plot.  Conflicts arise but they’re resolved so quickly that absolutely none of them have a lasting effect on the characters.  There’s no through line to the plot where a character struggles with some type of conflict throughout the entirety of the movie.  Things just happen, then they’re over, making for an incredibly boring experience at the movies where the characters have absolutely nothing to do.

These issues come from a horribly written script by Niall Leonard, who happens to be E.L. James’ husband (the author of the Fifty Shades movies).  Universal Studios gave James a ton of autonomy in making these movies, so when the first one failed to receive praise from critics, James went out of her way to make her husband, who had never written a screenplay before, the sole writer of the movie.  Obviously this change didn’t work out, because Fifty Shades Darker is one of the worst written movies of the past few years.

fifty shades darker
image via MovieWeb

What I Didn’t Like…Continued

The film, however, does have a ton of hilarious moments, all of which were not intended.  Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan regularly have to say laughably bad dialogue to each other, leading to some chuckles as the actors do their best to seem competent.  As I mentioned before, because conflicts abruptly enter and exit the movie, they’re so comical that you objectively can’t take the movie seriously.  My favorite moments include a helicopter and a beat drop during a sex scene.  They’re both so terrible, but I was in tears from laughter because of them.

However, Fifty Shades Darker could have been salvaged (maybe) if it had a few sexy scenes for its target audience.  But nothing about this movie is sexy.  Most, if not all, of these supposed “steamy” scenes are incredibly off-putting and are mixed with some really strange music choices, leading to a bunch of duds that do nothing to break up the excessively boring scenes surrounding them.

fifty shades darker
image via StereoTag

Fifty Shades Darker overall is just a complete disaster and its obvious that the people involved didn’t know how to construct a cohesive movie.  When we first see Anastasia at her new job at a publishing company, the camera pans to one of her coworkers who is working on a reading a book.  The set designer felt that it was a good idea to put a massive dictionary opened to the side of her desk, you know, because she reads books!  This of Fifty Shades Darker in a nutshell.  The material is simply being handled by incompetent people making irrational decisions.

Conclusion

Don’t see this movie, it doesn’t deserve your hard-earned money.  There are plenty of solid options to go out and see.  This movie doesn’t deserve your time because it’s clear that the people involved didn’t take the time to make this movie watchable.  It panders to the lowest denominator which is why Fifty Shades Darker gets an F.

fifty shades darker
image via ABC News

Thanks for reading!  Have you seen Fifty Shades Darker (please don’t)?  Comment down below with your thoughts!

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to like, share, and subscribe.

What movie topic should I discuss next?  Whether it be old or new, the choice is up to you!

45 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed your review. I read all the Firty Shades books (which I liked), but watching the first movie was a complete disappointment. In my opinion, they bypassed crucial information… info that would have made the plot more coherent.

  2. Haha, I figured as much. I read the series (well, skimmed through), and those three books are some of the worst books I’ve ever read, especially the last one. The only redeeming parts of the first movie were the soundtrack and Dakota Johnson. She was cute and made Ana somewhat believable/likable.

  3. You clearly have a talent for reviewing movies. I wouldn’t view either of the movies in this series if you led me at gunpoint. I HATE movies of this nature.

  4. Hey,
    I’ve not done any of the Fifty shades thing, in fact I was late to the twilight party as well. But some of the imagery I have seen in photo still have looked really good! Shame the film isn’t worth seeing! As I almost almost went for it for the visuals but I guess they would only show the “best” still out of the hour plus film…

    1. I’d have to agree that it’s pretty nice to look at. The scenery is nice, the people look pretty, but when there’s absolutely nothing to back that up then you have a problem lol

  5. I would have to say that I really enjoyed the movie. I sat through both and I have read the books as well. People are very critical of this movie but I actually rather enjoyed it. I do think they should have gone deeper into Christian’s dark past a little more but the sex scenes were pretty great.

    1. That’s interesting because I thought the music choices for the sex scenes were poorly constructed with weird music choices and fully clothed people. I can’t really say that I was “excited” by them at all. But in the end you’re entitled to your opinion! It’s nice to see the other side of the argument, it makes for better discussion!

      1. Well the music choices I didnt really give to much though to that. And I understand the concept of the sex scenes because when you really look at it they were mostly in a rush so she was undressed from the bottom down with him only having to whip out his piece and get it on. I saw it from a different perspective because people are sooooooo hard on the movies nowadays I tried to look at it from different eyes. grant-it I did want them to dig deep like the book did but I understand that making movies you have a time restraint and trying to fit everything from the book into the movie this series would be going on for a very long time with all the twist and turns

      2. See I haven’t read the books, so when there was a vague reference to something that happened in the books it was definitely way easier for you to decipher what was happening. For me, it just kind of came of as nonsense.

      3. LOL I totally understand there are alot of people who didn’t like the movie because it didn’t stay closely to the books but they just can’t get to everything that is in the book.

      4. I really hope so. Yes you are right, a first time screenwriter never helps a film that had such a powerful book. They should have taken notes from Harry Potter and Twilight. when you have a powerful book you should have a powerful movie behind it. and not stray to far from the book because then it creates a problem

  6. I am so glad I saw this review. I can’t even express how disappointed I was with the first movie. I’ve never actually finished it without falling asleep. It sucks, because the books were just phenomenal, but the movies are not.

  7. I have to disagree as I loved this film. Saying that, I am a fan of the franchise (although the books are poorly written), and I do believe that it is a film for the fans. I’m not sure I get your misunderstanding of the dictionary however.

    1. The point of the dictionary is that no one would ever just have that out or have it opened like they’re reading it. It’s not very practical but rather just a staged prop to try to make the shot in the film look more majestic. So, comparing that to the film as whole, the team behind this movie had a bunch of ideas that just don’t work or fit together. But obviously you might not agree to this analogy since you liked the film! I’d never knock you for liking a movie that I dislike, film’s subjective!

      1. I have to say that I work in publishing, in particular the area of proofing. I consider my grasp of the English language to be quite comprehensive but I very much have a dictionary as my constant companion to check out how things play out in a book I’m working on (albeit an online version). Definitely subjective.

  8. This is a good review. My fiancé and I went to see this movie last night. I enjoyed it but he didn’t. he expected it to be different. although I liked the movie there were some parts I wished they did different or didn’t do at all. I only liked 3 of the songs in the movie. I am a girl that cries over stupid sad parts in movies and I could say that I almost cried at one or 2 parts in the movie. when I saw the first one I saw it at my apartment, not in a movie theater so when I went to see this one in the movie theater it was kind of weird. but over all if you did like the first one and enjoyed the books I would recommend seeing this movie.

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