In the beginning, there was the “Twilight” series of novels. And thus was begotten the “Twilight” movies, and verily so, there was created “Twilight” fan fiction. And thus is was that “Twilight” fan fiction hath created a series of “Fifty Shades” novels, and from that loin was born the “Fifty Shades” movie series. And some people say that fine literature and art is dead…
“Fifty Shades of Grey” brought you the plain little virgin of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who meets high-powered and filthy rich Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Their relationship was a bit troubled, to say the least. Grey is into sadistic bondage and domination, and he needed Steele as a willing partner, a submissive. But there was stupid contract negotiations getting in the way of the soft-core booty calls. Steele got disgusted and left Grey, so now on to “Fifty Shades Darker”.
Steele has a job at a place called Seattle Independent Press, where she works for Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson). Grey promptly buys up the SIP, with no thought of irony in the name. In fact, Grey spends so much time pursuing and attempting to win back Steele, it is amazing that his company can run at all. Jack Hyde and Grey do not see eye-to-eye, even though they both treat Steele basically like garbage. Jack makes an aggressive pass on Steele, and he soon is looking for a job.
Steele and Grey get back together, but she thinks that it must be at a mutual, common level – out of respect and love. Grey has been weird for so long that this might be difficult for him, so he gets Steele to draw lines on his chest with lipstick. What? Oh, yeah, he still has problems. There is a prior ‘sub’ from Grey’s past named Leila (Bella Heathcote). She was once submissive to Grey, but she left. But now she is unhinged and gunning for Steele.
Grace (Marcia Gay Harden) is Grey’s adoptive mother, and she feels that Steele has made a positive change. Elena (Kim Basinger) is Grey’s very early lover and got him into the freaky stuff. But now she owns a salon and they are business partners. Damn good thing that Grey Conglomerated United Holdings, Ltd can just about run itself! Grey is the wealthiest man who never seems to do any work.
So Steele moves in, and Grey and Steele get several kinky booty calls. Grey says he has changed and asks Steele to marry him. There is the Leila stalker situation, and the Jack Hyde is planning revenge situation, and the Grey flies a corporate helicopter and maybe it goes down in the forest event. Along with the costume ball shindig, and the tool around the Seattle bay in a huge yacht affair, and the Steele gets mad and walks around by herself for hours sequence.
Could this movie be any more boring and inconsequential? Doubt it. Are there any redeeming factors? Yes, the scenery is beautiful and locations look amazing and the production values are top notch. But there is no actual story to tell and no character development. It is more like 15 or 20 minutes of insipid dialog and waiting around for the next “make sexy times”. It is not possible to fault the actors for failing in the roles and having no chemistry. The story gives them nothing to work with.
However, there is no doubt that middle-aged women who loved the “Twilight” series are also gonna eat this up. It will make a yacht-load of money, but not like the previous movie. The rest of the people seeing this might think they are in for an exotic, romantic and erotic adventure. But more than likely they will feel as if they are the ones getting screwed…