FIFTY SHADES DARKER lightens up on the cheesiness factor
I’ll just go ahead and assume that there are no rocks big enough for anyone to live under that would have kept them from knowing what the movie Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) was all about. Two years later the dark and twisted romantic saga is back for seconds. Fifty Shades Darker is the continuation of a love affair that continues to create quite the buzz among its ravenous fan base. Can this sequel turn up the heat or does the flame just fizzle out the second time around? Clarity is just few flicks of the finger away.
Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) had her world turned upside down and inside out not too long ago when getting involved with a young billionaire with an insatiable appetite for all things naughty. Now Anastasia is doing her own thing trying to follow her dream of making a positive impact in the world of literary editing. She’s single, semi-successful and happy with a life free of kinky complications. Her freedom is only temporary as Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) inserts himself back into her life. This man who is used to getting what he wants finds himself in the unfamiliar role of pursuer. Anastasia has a hold over Christian like none before her and he cannot stay away.
Inevitably brings these two star-crossed lovers together again and sparks burn just as bright. The fiery chemistry between the duo leads to many interesting occurrences as the pair seek a passable balance while not submitting fully to the other. New things are learned about Anastasia and the same goes for Christian. As roles are redefined the stakes are increased but is either willing to pay the price to succeed. Strap in and get ready to throw inhibitions to the wind because Fifty Shades Darker does indeed get darker.
After watching Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) I had major questions as to why so many people loved it. Without having a vested interest, not reading any of the novels and also (probably most importantly) not being in the target demographic, I just couldn’t see the appeal. It was poorly acted and just had an overall awkward feel. Still, it made LOTS of money and there was no doubt that a follow-up movie would be coming. I am pleased to report that the previous shortcomings have been addressed for the most part. The chemistry between the lead actors is much more cohesive. The dialogue isn’t quite as cheesy (my ears attempted to fold in on themselves while watching the first movie). The most welcome change though might be the increased attempts at lighthearted moments of humor. Maybe the change in director from Sam Taylor-Johnson to James Foley was the key missing ingredient here.
Jamie Dornan (BBC’s The Fall) didn’t look or sound like an actor that just scored his first lead role. Dakota Johnson (A Bigger Splash (2015)) appeared to be much more comfortable this time around. Their work together was not cringe-worthy which, again, is a step up from the first movie. Two additions to the cast make for some drama-filled subplots. Eric Johnson (Cinemax’s The Knick) and Kim Basinger (9 ½ Weeks (1986)) offer their talents as each slip into more of the villainous type roles.
Yes, sex and nudity are still prevalent throughout. And as far as rated-R features go, they do toe the line which should make potential moviegoers happy. The plot itself is still a little thin and hokey but, just like many other middle movies in trilogies before it, Fifty Shades Darker is simply a springboard to the big finale. Fans of the first movie will definitely like what they see. Those that weren’t sold on the alternative lifestyle romance aspect the first time around might be a bit more open as they didn’t try to shove it down your throat at every turn. So, in short, Fifty Shades Darker should appease fans of the film series as well as those that enjoyed reading the books. You can catch it in theaters everywhere right now.