Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Review: "Fifty Shades Darker" dials down the sleaze, amps up the stupid.

Fifty Shades Darker Review
A couple years ago, I reviewed "Fifty Shades of Grey" on this site, and I really was not a fan of it. I found it downright offensive that Hollywood would try to glorify a sadist, try to show people that this kind of behavior is okay. I truly do have a serious question here, how many women out there that love the "Fifty Shades" books and liked the movie, did you attend the Women's March against Donald Trump? If you did go to the March, I am confused by how you can like this story? Christian Grey is essentially a younger, better-looking Donald Trump. He's rich, he thinks its okay to treat women poorly, he wants control over everything, he gets angry when people disagree with him. Essentially Donald Trump, right? How is bad behavior okay for one person but not the other? Please don't tell me because its fiction, either rape culture, women's rights and trying to avoid sadism either matters to you or it doesn't, I don't see how you can have it both ways.

I now get "Fifty Shades Darker," which made me laugh out loud at the title. I thought this movie would make a vague attempt to be darker and sexier, but this movie is neither of those things. There is really no sadism scenes in the movie, which is good because one movie of them was enough for me. With that said, "Fifty Shades Darker" has stupider dialogue, a stupider story, and just feels like a bigger waste of time compared to last time. 

You know what "Fifty Shades of Darker" really is? Its "Twilight" without the vampires and the werewolves. That's really the best way to describe it. Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) left Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) last movie, and he's apparently been trying to get her back for awhile. Meanwhile, Ana's boss Jack (Eric Johnson) has begun to notice her, and its pretty clear he lusts for her as much as Christian does. At this point, I had to laugh. I mean Dakota Johnson gives Ana no life as a character, she's not even remotely sexy (and trust me, the movie tries to get the audience to think she's sexy, but it doesn't work.). She is a bore and a half when she spits out her dialogue, I honestly don't get how so many men want to bang this chick. Is it because of her porn star name? I don't get it. Anyway, we have two men going after the affections of an incredibly boring girl. Sound like "Twilight" yet?

I mean if you need anymore parallels, I mean Christian Grey goes around trying to integrate himself into every aspect of Ana's life. He buys the company she works for, he begs to go on a business trip with her simply because her boss is making her. How is Christian Grey not like Edward? And Jack? Well, he's easily angered, very pushy, although he doesn't walk around with his shirt off all the time. These movies are working hard to set Jack up as the villain, even though I don't think Jacob was much of a villain. Now, I know that the original books were conceived from Twilight fan fiction, but I don't know how you can honestly call this fan fiction. This is a straight up remake, except the Bella and Edward analogue get with each other more often than the real Bella and Edward ever did. So if they are so similar, why make a movie at all? Why not just remake "Twilight," since that's exactly what they are doing? We have had two different Spider-men in a decade before, we can have two "Twilight's" although, actually, no I don't like that idea.

So Jack oversteps his boundaries, Christian has him fired and it seems like  the movie could end right there. But the movie drags and drags and drags. The entire second act could have easily been edited out of the film. "Fifty Shades Darker" could have easily been a short film. But sadly its not, and it seems like the crew behind this movie had no sense of pace, so the film lags along until the end. Where Christian proposes! Oh my god, does he propose. Christian Grey literally proposes at least twice in this movie. At that point I had to laugh out loud.

Sure we learn a little more about Christian Grey's past, but its bundled up in a big box of the obvious. There is nothing in this movie that is remotely exciting or surprising. There is not a single good performance in the entire movie. Which is a sad surprise, since the movie features Marcia Gay Harden, Kim Basinger and Max Martini, a group of actors I cherish. There is not a single moment in the film that I found compelling, thrilling or the any of the matter. I don't feel the movie pushes our characters into any interesting direction, it all just kind of lays their like a footnote. I am just relieved that I didn't have to sit through any bondage scenes or sadism scenes. But I am not sure that is something I should use as a recommendation toward this movie.

Proceed if you must, but much like "Twilight," this is shaping up to be the strangest and sadly, the most pointless trilogy of films ever assembled. I mean, the way this movie ends,  there is really no need for a third chapter. But I do know a third chapter is coming. If they couldn't keep this second installment interesting for its entire run time (which is under two hours), I can only imagine what is in store for a third round. And I think it involves great pain, both on Ana's body and on the audiences eyes, ears and common sense. 

FINAL GRADE: D-

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