Review – Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

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fifty-shades-darker-589677289470bAs if Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t dark enough, we now have Fifty Shades Darker. Yet another movie that the film industry can be proud of themselves for sending creepy middle-aged women to the theater with disturbing smirks on their faces, and in some cases, worse things are found…but we won’t get into that. These women could be my mother…or your mother or Auntie. Think about that the next time you decide to try out Fifty Shades Darker.

Fifty Shades Darker takes place at some unknown interval of time between the last film, and now Anastasia Steele has somewhat of a normal life now. You know how the past comes back to bite you in the bum (no pun intended), Christian Grey is now back, desperate to get back together with Anastasia…but this time…he decides to rework their contract. Anastasia basically says no rules, only boundaries, because she doesn’t want what they had before, she wants something…vanilla. But even her own desires have a way of reverting back to the way things were.

Alright, so what’s the main reason to watch this film? Well, what’s the reason to watch any sequel? You want to see how the story advances, no matter how good or bad the story is in general. You want to see something different from the other so it doesn’t just feel like the same thing. So, did Fifty Shades Darker have this extra element? I guess it depends on who you ask. I will mostly say yes because the element added did help with some character development on Christian’s side, but as far as the story itself goes…I don’t know. It’s like I’ve seen this movie before, but slightly tweaked so it appears differently. Maybe I’m biased, though. Maybe I’m expecting something bad, so I’m looking for the specific negatives where I shouldn’t.

In general, I think I do consider this a better, more grounded film than the first one. The first felt so flat, pointless, and it degraded women quite a bit. It wasn’t true BDSM, it was abuse, as most people would point out…but the nice thing about this film is…that’s actually touched upon, which somewhat surprised me. A surprise is always a good thing, especially for this franchise. Now, the first film, I rated it 29/100, but I was also using a different reviewing method than I am now…but the one I use now has been proven to give me a very similar score as before…so according to my score today…I’m really freakin’ shocked.

So what about the abusive nature? As I’ve mentioned above, they do touch on that, and Christian ultimately treats Anastasia more like a human being in this one…because he realizes she means more to him than anything else. That being said, he does treat her a little unfairly in the beginning. For instance, his pushy insistence that she goes to dinner with him, and then he forces a kiss from her, but I don’t really blame him this time. This time I blame her. The story has progressed and was ready for a new chapter…but Anastasia mostly just reverts to the submissive Christian wanted, to begin with…which doesn’t give her a lot of credit…seeing how she really hated how it made her feel in the original. Okay then. Whatever, girl.

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PEOPLE SCORE (4/10)
Acting – 0|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 1

Alright, let’s get down to business. The acting was still pretty bad in general. I mean, this is a darker tale for Christian, as we actually get to see one of the extra “shades” of Grey we haven’t seen before, and his total personality revolved around that is so unattached. I like that they tried so hard to humanize him more, but he really sucked at pulling off something believable. The characters past Grey and Steele really don’t matter, not even his family. The importance is the same, only Grey and Steele are important…unless you consider her boss important to the plot…which I guess you could. Finally, the chemistry. I almost gave this full points, because they seem to work together just fine…but other times, it’s like…okay, what? That’s not normal.

WRITING SCORE (4/10)
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 0|Story – 1|Originality – 1|Interesting – 1

The dialogue was mostly typical, though you do expect more coming from a desperate man at the end of his ropes. He just says things like…I want to try again, I don’t normally want to try again. I don’t consider it a balanced story at all, it’s really convoluted. I mean, one minute, Anastasia is working as an assistant, and then she owns the place, and all of a sudden, Christian’s in a helicopter over Mount St. Helen, then there’s a boat…and a love triangle…I don’t know. I really don’t know.  The story was somewhat saved by Christian’s story about his biological mother and her abuse, which helped make him who he is today, but it doesn’t feel original. It mostly feels the same as the first. That being said, that extra little detail about him humanized him and that was somewhat interesting.

BTS SCORE (6/10)
Visuals – 1|Directing – 0|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2

Behind the scenes, the visuals were exactly what you’d expect, but the directing was pretty horrible, given how convoluted it is. The editing was normal, it was as advertised, and kill me if you want, but I liked the music…or at least the soundtrack. It’s all mostly songs I’ve heard on the radio before, but they’re catchy and sound nice to the ears…so…full points for good music.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE (8/10)
Introduction – 1|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1

As far as the story arc goes, the introduction was weak, as it relies heavily on knowledge of what happened in the first movie. As “memorable” as the first movie was, I had trouble remembering the details of that, so that was something that affected the viewing negatively. The inciting incident was re-meeting up with Mr. Grey, their dinner date, and their agreement to start things up again. The obstacles were basic romantic stuff…sorry, nothing about their relationship is basic…but I guess training Mr. Grey to be a good little doggy. Lastly, there was some decent climax stuff there, but the falling action was mighty weak, as it was definitely hinting at what’s to come in the last part of the trilogy.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (2/10)
Rewatchability – 0|Fun – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impusle/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 1

It might be fun and suck the audience in in certain parts, I won’t spoil you and tell which parts those are, but it lacked in every other department here. I don’t think it’s rewatchable, I have no impulse to buy it or talk about it with anyone either. In my opinion, it’s mostly a pretty unentertaining film.

SPECIALTY CATEGORIES (40/50)
Sequel – 10|Adds something new – 10|Smut – 10|Romance – 5|Halfway Decent – 5

So, for the specialty categories written before seeing the film, I wanted to know how it fit in with the 50 Shades universe, which I would say is perfectly. I wanted to see if they’d add anything new in this series that I originally called flat and shallow, and the answer to that is ultimately a yes. One of the main reason people go to these movies is for the smut, and they won’t be disappointed. Others might go to see the romance, and well, I don’t really see what they do as romantic, so I can’t connect with the film on that level. However, they gave it a go with the “vanilla” stuff, so I have to give some cred. Finally, is it halfway decent, it was better…but still had issues…lots of issues. Mostly with acting, character, and story pacing. The acting was stiff and cold most of the time, and the character claimed to be wanting to change, but…like….not really, and of course, the convoluted story could use a ton of help.

RATING – 64/100

(I know, right?)

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