And to nobody’s great shock, we got ourselves a sequel! Cue unenthusiastic “woo.” This is how you get punished when you spend the week watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Haha, actually, a little honesty, I kinda liked the first one. I mean, not in a “so artistic and amazing” kind of way, but in a “so bad, I’m enjoying myself” kind of way. I had fun with how bad the script was, how unemotional the acting was, how stupid the story was as a whole, but it was enjoyable. In a way though, I saw how it could have been a good movie, but that’s a whole different rant. From the look of things… it looks just as seriously bad and it looks like it’ll be more or less the same, except with a role reversal and a mysterious young woman who… might be a ghost? I have no fucking idea, but I’m kind of excited for this schlock.
Let’s take a look at the cast. Reprising their roles are Dakota Johnson (HOW TO BE SINGLE , BLACK MASS , and THE SOCIAL NETWORK ) and Jamie Dornan (ANTHROPOID , MARIE ANTOINETTE , and TV show ONCE UPON A TIME). Johnson’s proven to be decent when given the right material, like in BLACK MASS, but so many other films she’s been in give her nothing to work with to make her stand out. Or maybe I just think she’s cute and want her to be more than a pretty face. Dornan… yeah, I actually have less to say. I remember him in ONCE UPON A TIME, but beyond that, I can’t say I’m familiar with his work. So… onward. Others include Bella Heathcote (THE NEON DEMON , IN TIME , and TV show THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE), Kim Basinger (THE NICE GUYS , CELLULAR , and BATMAN ), and the ever amazing and only redeeming quality in these movies despite her limited role, Marcia Gay Harden (GRANDMA , THE MIST , and TV show TROPHY WIFE).
Now for the crew. Directing is James Foley, known for PERFECT STRANGER (2007), CONFIDENCE (2003), and some episodes of TV show HOUSE OF CARDS. Writing the script is Niall Leonard, known for a lot of stuff that I am not familiar with. And this never ceases to tickle me, composing the music is Danny Elfman, known for ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016), AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015), and pretty much anything Tim Burton. Finally, the cinematographer is John Schwartzman, known for THE FOUNDER (2017), SAVING MR. BANKS (2013), and THE GREEN HORNET (2011).
Overall, yup, I wanna see this. I could use a good laugh. In fact, I will be sorely disappointed if this flick isn’t as stupidly entertaining as the first one. We shall see.
This is my honest opinion of: FIFTY SHADES DARKER
Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is a miserable wreck without Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), whereas Anna’s doing rather well for herself, being an assistant to a high-end publisher, but clearly still misses Christian. But after an encounter at her friend’s art exhibit, they go out for dinner together and he convinces her that he wants to change. So the two rekindle their relationship while maintaining their bondage edge. But as Christian begins to open up about his past and those involved eventually makes their relationship even more complicated when those forces begin to threaten Anna.
YES! YES, SHOVE THAT BLAND, EMOTIONLESS ACTING UP MY ASS! OH GOD, MAKE ME DEEP THROAT THAT HORRIBLE DIRECTING!! FUCK YES, ALL THAT HORRIBLE WRITING ALL OVER MY FACE!! DO IT, YOU FUCKING WHORE OF A MOVIE!!
……………… So yeah, that’s how I’m starting this review. Ironically, I think my over-the-top intro to my opinion is a lot more graphic and intense than anything you’ll find in the movie.
In a few ways, this is a rehash of the first flick. Christian comes along and acts weird, and this somehow translates to “we should date.” Awe hell, the awkwardness starts before that. Anna gets invited to her friend’s art exhibit and is met with a lot of photos of her hanging on the wall open for bidding. First off, this friend is Jose (Victor Rasuk), the friendzoned guy with a massive crush on Anna. If his goal was to score this piece of bland ass, you wouldn’t hang pictures of her on the wall in your exhibit, without her expressed permission, up for purchase by random strangers, especially if she’s “your best work.” Trust me, if women were written to be horribly misrepresented in the first one, men get their turn in this. But onward with this opening scene. Mid conversation as Anna sees this, guess what happens. Every single one of those pictures is bought… and not one of these characters immediately comes to the conclusion that it was Christian. No no… he has to appear a few seconds later and the creepy-ass statement, “I don’t want strangers gawking at you.”
Now, any real woman worth her brain would have hightailed it out of that joint in a microsecond. Instead, this movie insists on being adult-Twilight and have these creepy actions mean nothing and Anna agrees to a dinner date. All in the span of probably less than five minutes, all that sadistic bodily harm that she endured in the first movie might as well have been an immature shoe-throw. Because that’s how women react to abuse, right?
Barely ten minutes into this movie and I’m fighting tooth and nail to not burst out laughing, but this holds for a vast majority of the film.
There’s another scene where Anna demands a “road map” of Christian’s emotions. Essentially, she wants him to open up to her about why he is the way he is. He then takes her into another room, opens his shirt, and with the use of lipstick – I shit you not – plays a game of connect-the-dots with the cigarette burns on his chest that coincidentally make a square-ish shape, all the while he’s getting a chubby off of it. What the fuck can you say about this shit?! And I think they have sex right after.
This movie is marinated in scenes like this. They are beyond awkward and hilarious. And it still doesn’t take away the standard bad writing. Character choices and motivations don’t make sense. Like why does Elena (Kim Basinger) care about who ends up in a romance with Christian? Is she in love with him? If the answer is yes, then it’s never explored. Her general role in the movie is to randomly appear in places and make threats to Anna. And what about Leila (Bella Heathcote)? For how dramatic her role gets, it’s barely touched upon and resolved about as quickly. This subplot could have been completely removed and you wouldn’t have missed a thing. Same thing could be said about anything involving Elena. Nothing is developed and nothing is giving the audience a reason to care other than just how much of a soap opera it’s really trying to become.
Oh, and how about that sequence with Christian and the helicopter going down? Am I spoiling something? No! I’m really not, actually! Why? Because there’s a third movie coming out in a couple years, so you know he didn’t die! Again, this movie takes such dramatic turns, but they don’t let any tension build or even, you guessed it, develop it. Even if you didn’t know there was a sequel coming out, the sequence lasts for about five minutes between the it’s execution and resolution. It’s pointless.
How about our leads? Nope, nothing is explored or taken further. I don’t recall seeing anything done different between the two characters. You don’t learn anything new about Anna, and the new things about Christian aren’t compelling because, whether due to natural bad acting – which I don’t believe out of Dornan – or bad direction, the audience is never given a chance to care. Neither actor is very good here, but then again, how can you make any sentence sound natural? Neither Emma Stone nor Ryan Gosling would be able to make this work. Maybe Harden does a decent enough job, but that’s saying very little considering how much she’s in the movie. A lot more than in the previous film, so that’s a plus. Thank you, Harden, for adding a lot more class to this movie.
Oh, and seriously, I’m a heterosexual male, I watch porn, I can appreciate a naked woman… but I am seriously sick and freakin’ tired of Dakota Johnson’s tits. This woman’s bodily exposure makes Megan Fox look straight-up decent.
Would it even make a real difference to mention the subplot about Anna’s creepy boss, Jack (Eric Johnson)? Of course there is! Because it’s fun! At first, you’d think it’s building up to a Twilight-esk love triangle. But nope! They meet early on and Christian is immediately a dick. He buys the company, becomes her “boss’ boss’ boss,” direct quote, and then quite sporadically gets so pissed off with Anna’s relationship with Christian and practically sexually assaults her. That’s not how this character was built up, except through a lazy bit of dialog before the incident happens. I mean, wow, men in this are fucking assholes in this story. They’re all jealous, possessive, abusive, psychotic, and all are down right creepy. Because… Men: We’re all just rectums with teeth!
Guys, there’s so many more things to go over, but we’d be here all day to get it down. This was an amazing experience, but it’s a trainwreck of a story. You know what the sad thing is? Similar to the first movie, I can see how someone could make this into an interesting story. Like, getting into more intense BDSM, maybe Elena could represent the relationship he could have had with his biological mother had she not died, I don’t know. A more clever and passionate writer could have done something with all of this. But instead, we get this bucket of horse shit. It’s terrible. But like its predecessor, it’s a gloriously entertaining kind of terrible. Yes, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and I kinda want to see it again. Just take a few shots of your favorite liquor, turn off your brain, and bask in this masterpiece of nonsense and stupidity.
My honest rating for FIFTY SHADES DARKER: 1/5 as a whole, 4/5 for entertainment value.