WARNING: If you clicked on this review, that means that you have just a little bit of curiosity about this film and its characters. Just dig deep and accept that you want to see it. No judgement here. Just deal with it and watch it for yourself. Feel free to do it in private so nobody finds out.
For those readers that saw the first film, Let me start by saying this review is written by a fan of the first one. I didn’t read the books but I saw the first movie and while it lacks great dialogue it still provided a sexy and entertaining escape from the real world for a couple of hours. Like the first movie, I watched the sequel on Valentine’s Day like most of America. My viewing at the movies was sold out at least. Unfortunately, while the sequel provided more depth into the characters of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, the film lacked structure with a cluttered and chaotic script.
While the first movie was about discovery and limitations, the sequel deals with redemption and acceptance. Christian Grey (Jaime Dornan) convinces Anastasia Steele in giving him another chance by changing the rules of their previous terms and doing things more her way. As they begin to build a better relationship, Grey’s past comes flooding in to challenge the couple in a whole new way.
The movie is definitely darker than the first but it’s not all dark and gloomy the whole time, even though this story does take place in Seattle. I grew up there so I am allowed to say that. Grey pulls out all the stops pulling every trick out of the book and his pants to redeem himself and show that he has changed and can be the man she wants. The two still have fun and have plenty of happy moments, whether its showing off each other at a masquerade ball, going sailing, and lets not forget all the hot sex. They still know how to steam up the screen and don’t hold back where it counts. What I liked about this sequel is that Steele is stronger in this film. You think that she is a fool to take him back and go against her rule never to be punished like that again but she stands her ground and is stronger in making the relationship the way she wants it no matter how dominate Grey is and she also confident in her relationship to others. Especially with their foreplay activities, a lot of that was done on her terms. She becomes more open-minded sexually as they try out some new toys and mentally able to handle Grey this time around. You also find out more about Grey’s past with his childhood, his relationship with Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger) the woman who pretty much opened up this side of him, and more deeper to the root of why he even chose Steele in the first place.
Where the film took two steps back is that the way this film was put together and presented to the audience, you can definitely tell this was based on a romantic novel. Yeah, Yeah, you can say that about the first one and if you do, this time around it’s worse. All of the supporting players are back between Steele’s friends and Grey’s family who all make appearances but don’t really have a reason to be there. Some of those returning players were more annoying than anything while not providing anything new to the story. With the exception of Christian Grey’s Mom played by Marcia Gay Harden who did a terrific job. If you remember the trailer, there was a suspenseful threat that could jeopardize Steele in violent and permanent ways but truth be told, that part of the plot barely takes up 10 mins of screen time. I think if they had expanded on that more, this movie would have been better. This also lacked any organization. Anytime there was a disagreement or fight between the two leads, the answer to the problem would be sex and then they will briefly give less than 2 mins of discussion to resolve the problems they were facing. Which brings me to the worse about the film is that their intros to the sex scenes were cheesy and lazy as the writing made those scenes look like an amateur porn with their lame excuses to have sex with each other. I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to watch this film but compared to the first one. Fifty Shades of Grey at least had a better way of disguising themselves separate from the reputation of the book that made this movie more believable. The Helicopter scene. WHY? JUST WHY?
Nevertheless, I had a great time watching this film. There is a scene towards the end that made me really root for these two to make it. You get a big reveal about Christian Grey and they both learn and come to terms with accepting each other the way they are and letting the other one in on a deeper level.
This sequel that is part of a trilogy set up characters for a final showdown leveling the playing field between dark and despair and happily ever after. You also get a little tease into what is to come and usually left with sort of cliffhanger or storylines not fully closed so you have something to look forward to. The hot and steamy scenes and lots of nudity will keep your attention, and the playful banter of Grey and Steele is too adorable not to smile once or twice. Unfortunately, the story and placement of scenes were just too messy to give it a better rating. I will say that if you are a fan of the first one, this movie brings what you like and more. To those that despises the first and sees no reason to spend your money, you are going to feel the same way about this one. Fifty Shades Darker cannot pull in any new audience and this franchise is now established as a film that appeals to a very specific and limited demographic. I still look forward to the third installment.
3 1/2 out of 5