By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)


Fifty Shades Darker: A Miniscule Improvement Upon the Original

Erotic, romantic, and seductive are all themes that Fifty Shades Darker tries to be. The overall plot development focuses on building upon the original film with a focus on the character development of Christian Grey. The narrative focuses upon the rekindling of Anastasia and Christian’s relationship by exempting the rules and punishments they formerly possessed. However, their newfound relationship begins to become conflicted as Christian begins battling his past and discovering how to share his innermost thoughts with Anastasia. Even though the sequel possesses little inconsequential improvements upon its predecessor, you still leave the theater asking how this movie is financially successful?

James Foley is a successful director that has helped bring great narratives to life with past successes of House of Cards, At Close Range, and of course Glengarry Glen Ross. This directorial for being at the helm of Fifty Shades Darker served as an exciting development in the build-up to this film’s release. So going into the viewing of this movie, I felt interested in how this directorial choice could increase the critical success of this franchise. However, this is not the case for Fifty Shades Darker. Let me start by clarifying that this sequel is an improvement upon the original, but still serves as a very abysmal attempt at successful filmmaking. The reasoning for its improvement is centered around its character development and advancement of the narrative. The character progression is centered around Christian Grey and his past as well as his development of learning how to begin to open himself up to those closest to him. The execution of this character progression is atrocious, but the fact that this progress is noticeable is a tangible difference from the original.

The plot or narrative also gains perspective is an apprehensible way, in how the story expands upon the relationship between these two characters. Once again the enactment of this story is handled very rough and garbled. Overall the plot and character advancement are noticeable and present throughout the run time of this film, but Fifty Shades Darker is still incredibly abysmal overall in not only its technical aspects but also in its screenplay. The dialogue, in particular, is cringey and atrocious to listen too, due to its delivery as well as the performances themselves. Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson once again struggle and presenting satisfying on-screen chemistry. The sexual scenery and erotically driven scenes are awkward and cringe-worthy in their portrayal. Though that erotic and seductive theme serves as the tonal focus of the film, every time it is focused upon I began to feel uncomfortable being surrounded others while viewing those scenes. Not because this a film that should be seen in private due to its sensual arousal, but it should be private due to the unease that I felt as an audience member.

The filmmaking aspects of the film are faulty and cheap in how they are designed and edited. There were multiple occasions of reuse of past camera shots with slight changes such as reverse or pacing of the shot. This shot design is a reflection of the lack of effort put into the technical aspects of the film’s production and directorial efforts. The plot contains many incohesive and inapprehensible developments in the screenplay that can cause someone who is watching this movie with their brain on to become confused and disgruntled with the lack of fluidity in the script. The flaws of this film continue in the lighting, sound design, music choices, and production design. The fact is that this movie contains an insurmountable amount of flaws that completely overshadow the little improvements that this sequel provides.

Fifty Shades Darker is a sequel that suffers from a lack of expectation due to the failures of the first film. Even though it is a diminutive progression upon the original, it still contains a dreadful and cringe-worthy directorial, productional, and actorial execution that is atrocious to watch. This sequel provided a tiny glimpse of the potential that this franchise contains, but it continues to be subjugated to profoundly egregious illustrations of the poor implementations of the filmmaking aspects and the portrayal of these monotonous characters.

Rating: 1/5



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