“Fifty Shades Darker” is a fun and sexually charged romantic drama

In Art, Arts & Entertainment, Film & TV, Reviews
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

“Fifty Shades Darker” delivers a fun, sexually charged romantic drama based on the 2012 book by author E.L. James.

“Fifty Shades Darker,” the sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” picks up where the last film left off. The original “Fifty Shades” showcased the relationship between Anastasia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, and the dominant Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan, who brings her into a sexual relationship involving whips and contracts. It all becomes too much for Anastasia, and she flees from Grey during “Grey’s” conclusion.

In the beginning of “Fifty Shades Darker”, Anastasia starts a new job as an editor’s assistant at a publishing company. Christian tries to win her back by wooing her with flowers and other gifts, but what ends up bringing her back is an agreement to break their sexual contract. She is apprehensive at first after he clearly enjoyed the pain that he inflicted on her in Red Room of Pain from the previous film.

It only takes one fancy dinner and some charm for Anastasia to run right back into his arms. She is, however, more strong-willed in this film than she was in the first. Their roles have almost switched, with Anastasia calling most of the shots and Christian agreeing to her terms.  

Although Christian is more flexible and more willing to compromise, he cannot stop being the cold, controlling and demeaning partner that he is. The film does offer some sort of explanation, by giving the audience a look into Christian’s childhood and the pain that was inflicted on him.

Things continue to get complicated for the couple. Christian’s former lover Leila Williams, played by Bella Heathcote, stalks Anastasia. While at work, Anastasia’s boss sexually harasses her, and then she is repeatedly bullied by Elena Lincoln, played by Kim Basinger, Christian’s former sex teacher.

“Fifty Shades Darker” reveals Christian’s softer romantic side. He is completely fine with kissing, cuddling and cooking for his partner this time around. It was nice to see the couple’s bond become emotionally deeper.

The dialogue was boring at times, but chemistry between Johnson and Dornan managed to elevate the material.

The sex scenes were more bearable to watch compared with those in the first film, which were much more graphic.

The film also had a fantastic soundtrack to spice things up. It included “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by Taylor Swift and ZAYN and “Bom Bidi Bom” by Nick Jonas and Nicki Minaj.  

“Fifty Shades Darker” introduces some plot complications that makes the prospect of seeing another installment not at all unpleasant.

“Fifty Shades Freed” will be the third and final movie in the series. But fans don’t have to wait as long because it is set to release on Valentine’s Day 2018, and if “Darker” is any indication, they can expect even more steamy sex and drama.

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