Phil's Quick Capsule Review

Fifty Shades Darker – Motion Picture Maniac

3 out of 10 stars

So… yeah… I went to the cinema to see Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to Fifty Shades Of Grey, a movie about a sweet innocent idiot who ends up in a controlling and abusive relationship with a billionaire sadist and… not much else to be perfectly honest, the plot didn’t really go further than that. Speaking of being perfectly honest, while everyone seemed to be calling Fifty Shades Of Grey out for being one of the worst films they had ever seen, I myself did not strictly hate it, I mean it wasn’t good, it was boring, played it safe and I had a lot of trouble telling whether or not the humour was intentional or not but the problems, for me, stopped there, I just didn’t think it was worth getting all that worked up over; it was just a bit boring and uninteresting.

Now we have Fifty Shades Darker, darker than what? Bloody shit? Say what you want about the first instalment, at least Sam Taylor-Johnson was trying to do something interesting with the material she was given, in fact I heard a story that Kelly Marcel, the screenwriter, had a version of the script that was very different to the book and explored the psychology of the BDSM lifestyle very early on. The studio executives, according to this story, were apparently very happy with it, that is until E. L. James became involved and immediately objected to such differences and the studio was suddenly unhappy with it, forcing Marcel to rewrite the whole thing and allowing James enough control whereupon she was in a position to have screaming matches with Johnson.

This explains a lot if it’s true, and it makes sense that such an experience would make Johnson and Marcel decline the offer to return for future instalments, now we have the husband of E. L. James writing the screenplay, James Foley in the director’s chair, probably hired for being a much more submissive filmmaker than the ambitious Johnson, and E. L. James remains in a position of power with which every creative decision must be approved by her, and no offense to the woman but this certainly explains why this film is even worse than the first in almost every way, the dialogue is worse, the acting is worse, the story feels like it’s making it up as it goes along, character motivation is inconsistent, the cinematography is bland, the direction is non existent, the soundtrack is obnoxious and the sex scenes are as uninteresting as they were in the first one.

I actually tried to read the first Fifty Shades Of Grey book and made it to sixty pages before closing it up and smacking myself in the face with it until said face went numb, only to gain feeling back when I began my inevitable rant to my friends and the rage fuelled blood began pumping the nerves back to life. What I’m trying to say here guys is – I’m trying, I’m really trying to understand the appeal and I just don’t, I mean I like risqué content and films that don’t care what conservatives think but this is just annoying. This whole thing feels like a cartoon, the dialogue is as cheesy as a porno written by George Lucas, characters barely have a tinge of realism to them, particularly Dakota Johnson’s boss character who turns may as well promise to the camera he has rape on his mind in the very first scene he’s in.

I can’t tell if Dakota is being a bad actress or the dialogue she’s working with is holding her back, same with Dornan, he’s been great in everything else he’s been in so could it just be the dialogue? Who knows? As far as filmmaking is concerned there generally is none, every shot feels bland and safe and without a shred of personality which at least the first film tried to have and the plot, oh God, what plot? You know what happens in this film? – Stuff, just a bunch of stuff, they go to a masked ball, they have sex, a girl from Grey’s past shows up, more stuff, Dakota’s boss creeps out, stuff, they drive a boat, stuff, and it goes on and on and on. You would think the sex would provide at least some kind of intrigue, being BDSM and all, but no, you can have the blind folds, the cuffs, the weird metallic beads but none of it feels remotely boundary pushing or risqué even though it clearly thinks it is which is a shame because the BDSM stuff is the film’s opportunity to get real for a minute and it just doesn’t capitalise on it.

The last twenty minutes of this thing, I’m telling you, are so hilarious they almost made the whole thing worth it, why am I giving this film three stars? Well, one reason is because it didn’t make me angry enough to go lower and I felt bad for the actors but the other reason is because of how funny it was at times, again – no idea if it was intentional or not but it was hilarious nevertheless, especially those last twenty minutes. There’s plenty of cringe to go around too but just as I was about to give up all hope, this crap suddenly got really funny so thank Christ for that. This is not a good film, it’s even worse than the first and while it’s probably not going to be among the worst films I’m going to see this year, a scary thought, it’s just boring and uninteresting and doesn’t take the necessary leaps it clearly wishes it could to be what it should be, porn in the cinema; I mean it can’t be anything else now can it?

Motion Picture Maniac

Writer, film lover and blogger. And now sadly retired from this site (rumour is he went to Russia live with the Tsars.)

Favourite Film: Touch Of Evil (used to be se7en but kinda fell out of love with it after this whole thing with Kevin Spacey came to light), Most underrated movie: everything by Zack Snyder. Most overrated movie: Carrie

Listen To The Podcast…

#PhilsQuickReview on Instagram

Just posted a photo

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) – A Quick Capsule Review ...

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: So… Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, one of my co-podcaster Ross’ favourite films of 2021 (and one of Mark Kermode’s LEAST favourit…

Load More...