Synopsis: Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) decide to rekindle their relationship, except this time there are no more rules or punishments. As they begin to get used to their newfound relationship, Christian’s past begins to haunt Ana. While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.
Fifty shades darker is the second volume of the E.L James’s trilogy and the sequel of its predecessor “Fifty Shades of Grey” came out in 2015. Two years later after the release of the book phenomenon in live-action, the sequel still fails to impress critics and fans of the trilogy are already starting to runaway from the franchise judging by the results and comparison of opening weekend box-office of the two movies (Fifty Shades of Grey: $94, 395,000 and Fifty Shades Darker: $46,607,250). But is Fifty Shades Darker worst than the first movie? Definitely not. The plot and intrigue are evolving. Fifty Shades Darker is the movie that really introduces the universe of the franchise to the audience. However, it is the acting and lack of chemistry between lead characters that handicaps this sequel.
Better than the first one, still bad as I imagined
The Fifty Shades series only owe its success to its books. Fifty Shades Darker is the proof that bad casting is a primary reason for the destruction of a franchise. This sequel was supposed to explore more the troubling past of the tormented billionaire Christian Grey and clearly explained the reasons behind his obsessions for BDSM world. Unfortunately, James Foley presented to us (again) a troubling love story accompanied by two main characters playing (again) cat-mouse games during the whole movie but this time with more sex scenes. The departure of Sam Taylor Johnson did not change anything or add something better. She could have done the same job, nobody would have noticed a difference. Moreover, even the cat-mouse love story is not well-illustrated. From the beginning until the end, we watch an inexistent chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan; and the way they are acting does not help either. Dakota Johnson is the one portraying more emotions and energy to her character Anastasia Steele, but it is not enough when she performs next to an empty character called Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). The scenes between them feel forced and sometimes awkward to watch. we do not feel compassion for any of these characters who are expected to make the audiences travel within the universe of the series and all its suspenses. Fifty shades darker has basically the same first and third act plot than Fifty of Grey. The only difference is the happy ending Fifty Shades Darker presents to us with a little tease to the third and final installment.
But do not worry guys, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) are far away to be the worst characters of this sequel. Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) is the worst. Through the whole movie we ask ourselves what real impact he made in this franchise? The perverse desires toward Anastasia Steele is rushed because we did not even appreciate the Boss- personal assistant relationship between them. The last scene between Anastasia and Jack is awful, so much uncomfortable to watch and badly played by the actor. On the other hand, Bella Heathcote (Leila Williams) is the actress who is giving life to the plot and intrigue of the movie. I enjoyed every small scenes where she appeared and in only one scene, it seems she has a better chemistry with Jamie than Dakota. Her confrontation with Anastasia in her apartment is without hesitation the best moment of the movie. It was perfectly illustrated and Bella Heathcote shone in her role. I applaud John Schwartzman for his work in the cinematography of the movie. The shots during the cruise with Ana and Christian, the landscape of modern Seattle, luxurious hotels and restaurants plunge the audience in the fantasy of the book series. Unfortunately, even the cinematography universe is not enough to save this movie from drowning. It is good that Universal chose to focus on the love story rather than the kinky relationship between the innocent Anastasia and the tormented Christian, but they could at least have improved the story. Too many plot hole, a story of Christian’s past vaguely explained, scamped and do not even correlate to the need of the movie. It is a shame because it was supposed to be considered as the second main plot of this film. Even the second act does not even try to cover this backstory. Fifty Shades Darker is another meeting between Ana and Christian following by sex scenes and arguments, which is similar to the first one and it is a waste of time.
Fifty shades darker has nothing thrilling and dark at all. It is just the continuity of the complicated relationship between the two main characters. The new characters adding to the plot barely serve to the purpose of the film. There is no suspense during the movie and the scenes are too predictable like the first installment. After the Divergent series, Fifty Shades Darker marked the beginning of another long franchise we already excited to wrap it up.