by Diana Vaccarelli
No spoilers here because it’s already spoiled!
On February 10, 2017 Universal Pictures released the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey, the not-so-cleverly-titled Fifty Shades Darker. This film follows the continued relationship of Anna Steele and Christian Grey and their constant struggles to be completely honest with one another and how sex drives their relationship.
- After the battles behind the scenes of Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel were not asked to return for the sequel. Instead the writing went to novelist and writer of the Fifty Shades trilogy E.L James’ husband Niall Leonard. Leonard has written several television series and films such as Horatio Hornblower. I mention this because this change from the first film to the sequel was a great success. Leonard has shown that the characters have a relationship outside of intimacy. Better yet if you’re into this sort of thing, he also gives us some very real-seeming B &D.
- Director James Foley of House of Cards and Billions, brings the book more to life then Taylor Johnson did. I was pleasantly surprised by how much Fifty Shades Darker film followed the book. Looks like sometimes it pays to leave control of a property in the hands of the creator.
- The music continues in this franchise to be excellent. It shows Christian Grey’s inner darkness and how his emotions change when he is around Anna.
- The main issue I continue to have with this series of films is the casting of Anna Steele. Dakota Johnson is, in a word, drippy and doesn’t give the character one single ounce of personality. On top of that, she speaks in the kind of monotone that would make anybody want to tie her up, preferably in another room…or city…or country.
- It’s based on one of the most justifiably reviled novels of this century, which means that no matter how well made this film may be it still may make your skin crawl.
- If you’re a fan of the books you will definitely appreciate the changes from the first film to the sequel. If you’re a fan of films that have great music this film might make you smile…but a copy of the soundtrack would be a better choice. For my part, I give Fifty Shades Darker an overall two stars out of five, but my friends have always said that I’m generous to a fault.
Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and one of the best people we know. Find out more about her HERE