Fifty Shades Darker: what the critics are saying

General verdict on Fifty Shades sequel is far from positive

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Fifty Shades Darker: what the critics are saying

It's been two years since the steamy adaptation of EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey hit the screens, leaving some viewers shocked, some disappointed, some surprised, some super satisfied, and some all of the above.

It's now time for us to strap in for round two as the second instalment in the Fifty Shades series reaches cinemas. Although Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) are no longer together, for some reason Mr Grey just can't stay away.

As reviews start pouring out, the verdict doesn't seem too different to the first film, with few critics giving it more than three stars.

'Plot wise, the film is utterly threadbare and the sex scenes, which are fairly graphic at times, are always accompanied by syrupy rock music', according to Geoffrey Macnab from The Independent.

See a round up of reviews below. Fifty Shades Darker is released on Fri 10 Feb.

The Independent – Geoffrey Macnab ★☆☆☆☆
On top of many 'toe-curling lines' from Ana including her stating, 'I was being romantic and then you just go and distract me with your kinky f***ery', Macnab claims that one of the main problems with the sequel is that it's 'an ordeal to watch not because of its gothic eroticism but because of its utter blandness'.

The Standard – Matt Neal ★★☆☆☆
After a brief summary of Darker, Neal writes, 'the rest of the film is the equivalent of living in a sharehouse with a couple – it's uncomfortable and confronting at first, but eventually becomes tedious, annoying and lame.' And, that's from someone who enjoyed the first film, giving it three stars.

The Age – Jake Wilson ★★★☆☆
Darker is 'a decided improvement over its predecessor, Sam Taylor-Johnson's over-tasteful Fifty Shades of Grey', according to The Age. Wilson also praises Johnson for her role as Christian Grey's submissive and says that as the middle instalment of the trilogy, Darker leaves much to ponder.

The Hollywood Reporter – John DeFore
'A concluding instalment is already en route; expect diminishing returns every Valentine's Day', says DeFore. Despite its title, DeFore argues that much of the talk of master/servant roles and contractually binding sex play is replaced in Darker by something that's in fact a lot more tame and 'lovey-dovey'.

Variety – Guy Lodge
Taking a similar stance is Guy Lodge, who claims that it 'does almost nothing to fulfil the promise of its title, but it's still diverting, sleekly styled and just sexy enough to frighten a few frigid horses.' He does however give Johnson, Dornan and screenwriter Niall Leonard the benefit of the doubt for having to work with lesser material.

Newsday – Rafer Guzmán, ☆☆☆☆☆
There's no holding back in Guzmán's write-up as he describes the film as 2017's 'first true cinematic travesty'. He reiterates the point made by many other critics: the 'utterly ridiculous' sequel manages to deliver a performance that's less erotic and in fact goofier than 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fifty Shades Darker

  • 2 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 118 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson
  • Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan
  • UK release: 10 February 2017

No surprises here: Anastasia (Johnson) gets sweet-talked back into the red room by Christian (Dornan). Foley seems to be under orders to skip the actual sex, as the real money shots are of Christian’s wardrobe. Johnson manages to be likeable and human, but otherwise it’s high on production values and short on story.

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