“Fifty Shades Darker” is a sequel to an adaption of a best-selling erotic book series based off a “Twilight” fan-fiction about BDSM. I feel like that is all the information you need, but the format dictates I elaborate.
Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia, the shy, pale, quirky, bashfully-lip-biting, bangs-sporting, sundress-wearing, under-her-breath-talking Buzzfeed hipster-geek English major who allows a man to sexually abuse her if he gives her a new iPhone. She seems like the type of person to go to a coffee shop and read “Wuthering Heights” just so strangers are aware that she is reading “Wuthering Heights.” She seems like the type of person who thinks she is unique because she listens to The Kooks.
Jamie Dornan plays Christian Grey, the muscular, 5-o’clock-shadowed, woodenly-handsome, robotic, tragically-tortured young bachelor who has lots of money for some reason. He is your typical movie billionaire minus the intellect, savvy or charm.
Neither display any semblance of a personality or defining character trait. In that regard, I suppose, they are meant to be together. Watching them awkwardly fumble around flirtation has about as much titillating chemistry as Tim Kaine and Mike Pence snarling at each other during the Vice Presidential debate.
“Fifty Shades Darker” acts as a long music video to promote its moody soundtrack littered with big names like Taylor Swift, ZAYN, John Legend, Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas, Sia, Tove Lo and Halsey, which is more intriguing than the film. This trendy soundtrack also supports the orgy of Apple product placements throughout.
I could not really say what the point of the movie is, or even what it is about. It is very episodic. The scenes could be scrambled out of order and it would have no effect on the plot. One thing happens then the next thing happens. There is no consequence or growth. Nothing is built toward. The story just sort of meanders around aimlessly then ends.
In the advertisements, it seemed the movie centered around a crazy ex from Grey’s past returning to take revenge on Anastasia. But that story line took up all of four scenes. Later in the movie, Anastasia is sexually assaulted by her boss. She breaks his wrist, he gets fired, and then out of some bizarre miracle, she gets his job. Then, Grey’s helicopter crashes but he turns out to be fine. Finally, the big twist ending is that Grey proposes, but that was already spoiled in previews.
Other than that, the movie consists of two people eating dinner and then boning. An inordinate amount of time is composed of Lifetime-movie-level dramatic stares accompanied by stifling, pregnant pauses.
The movie itself is just a conduit for the soft-core sex scenes, which seem like they were written by a group of prepubescent boys. One of Dakota Johnson’s actual lines is, “You’re not putting those in my butt.” The violent scenes perpetuate misguided stereotypes about BDSM and misogynistically appropriate domestic abuse.
Having to sit through two hours of this insufferable nonsense is not worth any sort of sexual gratification. You might as well just watch actual pornography; anyway, most pornstars have more screen presence and emotional range than Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.
“Fifty Shades Darker” is not a good movie. In fact, it is a very bad movie. It’s not even entertaining in an ironic so-bad-it’s-good way. It’s just mind-numbingly insipid. Even the nudity becomes gluttonous after awhile. You stop thinking of sex amorously and it just becomes all biological and anatomical and gross.
“Fifty Shades Darker” came out just in time for Valentine’s Day, but there are much more romantic ways to spend the holiday, like filling out paperwork at the DMV or getting kidney stones removed. Don’t waste your time or money. Go see “John Wick: Chapter 2” or “The Lego Batman Movie” instead.