The latest installment of the Fifty Shades film franchise, “Fifty Shades Darker,” is the rare sequel that is worthy of existence, although many of the problems seen in the original “Fifty Shades of Grey” have carried over. The movie continues the story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a recent college graduate in a relationship with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), a billionaire entrepreneur.
“Fifty Shades Darker” features a stronger plot than the first movie and introduces a new problem to the couple’s romantic relationship. Steele is much more assertive than before and wants to make sure she owns her own life. While in the previous film the relationship’s enemy was Steele's own fear of their relationship, in “Darker” the enemies are several people in Steele and Grey’s lives that don’t want them together.
The movie attempts to depict a darker side to their romance by having stalkers, creepy bosses that ignore boundaries and a figure ready to kill in order to stop their romance. This relatively complex plot marks an improvement in the series: this film is not simply a series of sex scenes. The filmmakers also expand on the protagonists’ characterization and reveal one character’s dark past. The movie’s amazing soundtrack does some heavy lifting, really adding to the mood of many scenes.
However, this movie does have its fair share of faults. While touted as a taboo tale of S&M, the film is in actuality relatively tame – audiences expecting more will be disappointed. The plot, while overall an improvement from the first, isn’t perfect. The character of Steele isn’t fully developed – she flip-flops throughout the film’s runtime – and most of the drama’s impact is lessened by poorly-timed sex scenes.
Try as it might, “Fifty Shades Darker” can't escape the fact that it’s a movie meant to satisfy those who want to see BDSM in a mainstream film. By featuring a flawed storyline and less-than-thrilling scenes of intimacy, “Fifty Shades Darker” is ultimately a bust.