Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele explore their relationship in Fifty Shades Darker. Let’s talk about the film, those steamy scenes, and #spreaderbar.
[For Mature Audiences; Some Spoilers]
Fifty Shades Darker, starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, based on the best-selling novel by EL James
4 out of 5 stars
Before I start this review, I feel like I need to lay some groundwork first, so…
I’ve been acquainted with this story since 2010, and I know all about these characters. I didn’t keep up with the novels as they published, and I didn’t see Fifty Shades of Grey in theaters. In fact, I watched it for the first time a few months ago.
In passing, I would think, “That’s really neat!” and then cringe at all the critics (who know nothing about the romance genre or look down their noses at it) that would bash it or try and use it as the justification for bad behavior. For example, “All the women upset by [insert example] and like Fifty are hypocritical and stupid.”
Yeah…nope. Have a seat.
Romance is multi-layered genre with different niches for everyone. One of the common threads in romance, even in Fifty, is consent. A woman enters into a relationship, helps set and control the ground rules of said relationship, and engages in sexual behavior that she agrees upon and likes. The idea that a woman can have this type of sexual agency and that women enjoy reading or watching this type of film seems to shake people up.
That all being said now, it’s a very surreal experience to see something I read as fic brought to life.
This film opens right after the ending of the first one. Christian and Ana have split up. She’s starting a new job, and he’s attempting to win her back. We meet Ana’s hot boss, Jack Hyde, who is pretty to look at, but there’s something off about him from the start.
Then Ana goes to José’s photography exhibit, and we see all of the pictures he’s taken of Ana. His show brings Christian and Ana back together, and she agrees to have dinner with him and they rekindle their romance.
“No rules. No punishments.”
It’s everything Ana has wanted, and Christian has decided that he’ll try a vanilla relationship. From here, things start going pretty well, but there’s a distraught looking young woman who keeps following Ana everywhere. **warning bells**
I thought the pacing of this film was really well done. We’re able to see as Christian and Ana grow closer together. They make compromises, they talk, they still engage in all kinds of “kinky fuckery”, and it’s so. freaking. hot. I loved all the sex scenes, and the music chosen to go along with each.
Another thing I appreciated about this film was that when it came to sex scenes, it was all very focused on Ana’s pleasure. We know from the novels, particularly Grey, that Christian wants to give her pleasure and enjoys that, so when we have Ana press the top of his head to keep him on his knees and tells him to kiss her, I was silently cheering.
Then there was the spreader bar scene, and I’ll be honest. My jaw dropped and I gasped the same time she did when he turned her over because have mercy that was hot.
The “villains” in this one are from Christian’s past for the most part. We have ex-sub, Leila, who really isn’t a villain. I think she has lots of issues, and I’m glad she got the help she needed, but she serves as a reminder to Ana that this was what Christian wanted before.
When Christian tells Leila to kneel, and she immediately obeys, I took a deep breath. That scene is full of tension and played expertly, in my opinion.
As is the scene following that when Christian tells Ana that he is hers, and he kneels at her feet. Just whoa. So many emotions.
Then there’s Elena Lincoln, aka Mrs. Robinson. Let me be real here. I really hate this woman. Like, it would take a whole lot for me to feel an ounce of sympathy for her, so I was totally fine with Ana standing up to her and all about Mama Grey slapping her and telling her to get out of her house. The only reason she was even hanging around is because she wanted to stir up trouble.
In other words, I’m Ana when Christian asks if she’s really sorry that Mrs. Robinson is being cut out of his life.
Of course, we have our romance again with Christian asking Ana to marry him, and the beloved keychain acceptance after he gets back from nearly dying. Even though I knew it was coming, Charlie Tango going down still had me nervous.
Now, the real bad guy is coming up in the next film, and that’s going to be Jack Hyde. He got fired after he tried to assault Ana, and he’s got lots of bones to pick with Christian Grey.
We’ll have to wait to see how this one plays out next February because Fifty Shades Freed doesn’t hit theaters until 2018. **stares longingly at the calendar**