It is curious the success around the film franchise “Fifty Shades of Grey”. As much as it brings an aura of daring and mischievousness by adopting the sadomasochism universe in the narrative, at the same time the first film was extremely moralistic, whether by conducting the romance involving Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele or by the way the sex scenes were shot, sterile and without chemistry. The blame is, in part, on the choice of the main couple, but also on the impositions made so that the feature film would be, as far as possible, softened - at least in relation to the much more explicit book.

This, inevitably, turned it into a soft porn movie.

More than a sequel, it is no exaggeration to say that “Fifty Shades Darker” is almost a re-creation of the original film. It brings new characters, it's true, but they all don't really matter to the central plot. The film, once again, is struggling to develop the romance between Christian and Anastasia - and, more than ever, romance is the right word to define the relationship between them. After her refusal at the end of “Fifty Shades of Grey," Grey soon seeks her as a little lamb, crazy to have his beloved back, even if he needs to give up his "dark past".

Traumas, glamour, and forbidden sex

A too dark past, as the beginning of this sequel soon recalls us.

The scene of Grey's nightmare is directly related to his childhood traumas, blaming them for being the way he is - because, according to the puritan booklet, a normal person cannot be attracted to S&M. But, now, the dynamics of the couple is changed. Less naive than in the first feature, Anastasia has some control over what she wants from this relationship.

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In the same way, it delimits the daring to be adopted between four walls, establishing rules for the always authoritarian Grey. Visually, such a loss of control is represented by the ever-bearded beard of the young millionaire - which, amazingly, never changes over the course of the several days to which the narrative unfolds.

With this thread of history, "Fifty Shades Darker" bets firmly (once again) on the contrast between the glamour of wealth versus "dirty" and "forbidden" sex, far from conventional. If at least Anastasia has a will of her own, even in pleasure, little by little all elements of the original film return as in a soap opera - even the famous Red Room, important within this new loving rearrangement.

With aseptic sex scenes filled with calculated nudity, sometimes driven by the lighting to her curves, this sequel ends up being even more behaved than the original - whether by the course of the story or by the direction itself, now of James Foley (The Perfect Stranger). The feeling of more of the same is inevitable.

Fifty shades of boring

In the midst of such weariness, a possible salvation (or encouragement) might come through the new characters. But Bella Heathcote, Kim Basinger and Eric Johnson have sporadic, tangential, stereotyped and unimportant appearances in the film as a whole. It is as if they were presented in “Fifty Shades Darker” so that they only tell what they came in the next feature, “Fifty Shades of Freed” (already recorded and scheduled for February 2018). Meanwhile, in this second film, the faint attempts of suspense and the sequences involving horny in public places seem to be used just to pad out. None of them actually work.

With horrible dialogues and scenes that provoke involuntary laughter, “Fifty Shades Darker” manages to worsen what was already bad in the original movie.

To the couple protagonist, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, there is not much left to do beyond the exploration of their bodies, since the film doesn’t offer them much dramatically. It leaves us to wait if, at least in the end of the trilogy, there will be something different from the standard conflict of the first two films: Anastasia being startled to discover the world of Christian. It is past time to change the subject.