Hello all, and welcome to my review of Fifty Shades Darker! 😀
Starring: Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele), Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey), Eric Johnson (Jack Hyde), Bella Heathcote (Leila), Kim Basinger (Elena Lincoln)
Plot (taken from IMDb):
“While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.”
Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele) – I still think her character is adorable, and I’m sometimes on the fence about how much of this she does for Christian’s sake, but this time I feel like she kind of came into her own a little more. There were actually many times when it was clear she was doing these things because she really wanted to, rather than just going with the flow, which is a massive improvement. I still do want to see her become a stronger female lead though.
Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) – I still absolutely love this version of Christian Grey over the book version. This actor is great at notching up the intensity in his character. There was actually a surprising amount of growth in the character, which I wish they had gotten a little more into. It felt like a lot of that growth happened off screen, in between movies, with the how and why left unsaid, beyond the obvious: he just wants to be with Ana and will do whatever it takes to get her back.
Eric Johnson (Jack Hyde) – Lol, as the name implies, he has two totally different faces. His business hours Mr Charming face, and his after hours Mr Creeper face. Never was it more driven home that this is a movie than in the scenes where he’s Mr Creeper face. In the real world, he would be in prison several times over and sued for massive sums of money, and never be trusted in a position of power in any company ever again for any reason. I feel like there was potential for more here, and they totally set him up as the final boss battle for the last movie (assuming the last book is made into only one movie).
Bella Heathcote (Leila) – There was also potential for a lot more from this character too. She was kind of a threat for a little while, and then you kind of forgot about her a little. And then she showed up, was immediately dealt with, and we’ll probably never see her again.
Kim Basinger (Elena Lincoln) – I wish there had been some more screen time for this character too. This was the same as the last two antagonists – more potential that kind of showed up, made introductions, and left the party early.
Let me start by saying this movie was a great deal better than the first one, hands down. I know a lot of people are saying it’s worse, but I have to respectfully disagree. I feel like they fixed a few things that bothered me about the first movie. I also think Christian and Ana’s relationship grew more in this movie.
I’ve heard some fans of the books say they weren’t crazy about this movie too. Which is understandable – a lot of books are better than the movie adaptations. In this case, I have to respectfully disagree again. I tend to like the Fifty Shades movies more than the books, but to each their own.
One of my main complaints rears its ugly head again this time around.
Sometimes things felt rushed. Also, there were 4 subplots that could have been these big dramatic things – offering Christian and Ana more chances to grow stronger as a couple. But, as mentioned in the character section, they each showed up, said hello, and left just as quickly.
Especially the scene (singular, as in this was about 10 minutes of the 2 hour film) where Ana was concerned for Christian’s safety. I won’t spoil the details, but I almost feel like it wouldn’t be a spoiler even if I was more specific, because it was drama that was barely there long enough for you to register that something might actually be wrong.
Unfortunately, I also feel like there was some major epiphany for both characters off screen, sometime between the first and second movie. Christian did some soul searching and realized he shouldn’t use BDSM as a way to vent the trauma he experienced during childhood. And Ana also did some soul searching, and decided she actually did like BDSM.
I don’t know how they came to these decisions, but I’m kind of hoping Christian’s soul searching led him to therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the dominant part of this character, but it gets twisted by the things he’s been through.
I think what I liked most about the movie is that both characters actually *wanted* to find a middle ground between them.
First of all, and most importantly in my book – Ana FINALLY figured out what she wanted, and how much of Christian’s BDSM she wanted to take part in.
Whatever epiphany happened for her between the first and second movies, it completely changed her attitude where BDSM is concerned. I don’t remember a time in the first movie where she didn’t just feel like she was going with it for Christian’s sake. Not that she hated it, but it wasn’t a thing she craved either. In this movie, there are actually a few times where Ana asks Christian to spank her, or to take her to the Red Room, or try something new.
Lol, regardless of whether someone’s into kink or not, one of the key parts in any sexual encounter is consent. It also helps a great deal if the participating individuals are into what’s going on. This time around, Ana was actually into it, and communicated what she wanted, or didn’t want, more directly.
Like with the first movie, they focused more on the sensual domination type of feel than inflicting lots of pain or humiliation. It was a lot more about seducing Ana than hurting her.
As for Christian, he finally let himself figure out how to love Ana. He was still his intense, dominant, kinky self, but he also tried to “do hearts and flowers” for her too.
He was still kind of over the top on throwing money at her every ten minutes, and he was still very controlling with her outside the bedroom, but he at least made an attempt at respecting her wishes.
Most of the time.
Half of the time.
He finally opened up and explained his past to Ana too, and let her do something that made him uneasy for once. He really was trying for her sake, and I think he became a better guy over the course of the movie.
My rating for Fifty Shades Darker: Cash-Worthy – I gave this one a higher rating just because I honestly had fun going to see this movie. Lol, if you see it, go into this expecting it to be exactly what it is: erotic fluff based on twilight fanfiction. It’s fun and kind of kinky, and leave it at that. It could have been stronger if they’d made the subplots more prominent, or somehow split them up so they could be more dramatic, and the pacing was off again. But overall, I really liked it – lol, especially because I feel like they did manage to fix the damage done at the end of the last movie. Check this one out if you like movies like Secretary or the first Fifty Shades of Grey, or like BDSM/erotic type romance in general.
PS: The soundtrack is really good again. 😀 So here’s more!
My Rating System:
Epic: This movie is so mind-bogglingly awesome that I may go see it twice. This one will have a place of honor on my shelf.
Cash-Worthy: Good stuff. This will most likely find a place on my shelf.
Not Bad: I liked it. I’m glad I saw it, and it may or may not end up on my shelf at some point. I would say rent it first to be safe.
Meh: Rent it first. You may love it or hate it, but I’m indifferent probably because it’s not my type of movie. I’m glad I saw it, but it won’t end up on my shelf.
Emergency Cake: I have an emotional reaction to movies sometimes, especially to tragedies. If a movie makes me sad or angry, sometimes it will stick with me for a while. At these times, only chocolate cake can save me. Chocolate cake makes everything better. No shelf for you. Ever.