This weekend for Valentine's the second movie in the Fifty Shades series was released and I am pleased to say that it was much better than the first movie. It is very much along the same lines as the first movie (the nudity, barely able to be called rated-R sex scenes, and the focus on the "kinky fuckery" or lifestyle of Christian Grey). I enjoyed this movie more than the first one and I expect that anyone who is interested in seeing this one, has seen the first one and knows what to expect will like it as well. I appreciate that they just start right away with the movie and not spend time going over what happened in the pervious movie.
Fifty Shades Darker continues were the first movie left off, with Anastasia Steel, played by Dakota Johnson, having left Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan, because she doesn't want to be in a relationship where she is a Submissive and where she is controlled by his contract. Christian decides that Ana is more important to him than his previous lifestyle and seeks to get her back. This movie focuses on their building relationship and how Christian is dealing with his demons while Ana tries to get him to open up and have an open and honest relationship. Ana also has to deal with her new boss Jack Hyde, played by Eric Johnson, who is not as congenial as he first appears; Leila, played by Bella Heathcoat, a former Submissive of Chirstian's; and Elena, aka Mr. Robinson, played by Kim Basinger.
The previews tease this movie as more of a thriller than the previous movie and this goes along with the book by E.L. James. While Ana and Christian are working to sort out their own stuff and relationship they are effected by those who are around them and these people create problems for the pair. However, even though this tone was pushed in the trailers it was not that strong or a big part of the movie itself. I would have liked more time to be spent on this thriller aspect of the book and I feel like the Leila part was added just because it was a large part of the book more than it being really woven into the movie. I would have preferred some of the sex scenes to be shorter or cut out for more focus on the interplay between the secondary characters. The new case members who were brought in for this film did great with what they had and could have been used to create more to the movie than just Ana and Christian. This is the book where they are building their relationship and I would have liked more from the other characters.
Before the Fifty Shades of Grey movie came out in 2014 (read my review here: http://myreviewsbyjane.blogspot.com/2015/02/fifty-shades-of-grey-2015-review.html ) I was very much in the #NotMyChristian camp and thought that the chemistry between Johnson and Dornan was non existent but I am glad to say that it was better (still not the best) in this movie. Dakota Johnson continued to be quite flat in her affect but this did not really bother me because I was expecting it. She is on par with the previous movie. I am glad that they scuffed Dornan up as he is definitely more attractive with a little stubble and this helps to add to him being off due to being thrown from his usual in control role. These two play of each other much better in this movie and seemed more comfortable with each other but there still was not a huge sizzle whenever they were together.
You need to be able to handle nudity and an artsy smutty feel to enjoy this movie as there are lots of sex scenes and it pushes the line between erotic Hollywood movie and soft core porn. For a movie where the main audience is older women I don't get why they show Dakota Johnson naked so much, I feel like it didn't go more than 15-10 minutes without showing her breasts. I have gotten so used to movies covering up actors during sex sense that I find it odd when they blatantly show nudity. I actually feel that this takes away from the sultriness. There was some showing of skin from Jamie Dornan but no where near as much as Johnson.
The production value of this movie is very high. I can see the care and effort that went into making this movie. The music is selected with care and used to augment the story. The cinematography is great. This all follows suit with the previous movie and it continues to take a more artsy approach to all the scenes.
With this movie being better than the first I am looking forward to seeing Fifty Shades Freed next year but hope they up the thriller aspect of it and not just put in the basics needed to fill the space between sex scenes.
My Rating: 2