Part deux of the Fifty Shades saga carries on the tradition of the first. Unfortunately for film goers the first film was a stinker and Darker follows along that well worn path. Much about this film is similar to the first in that the leads have little chemistry (which pretty much equals death in a film like this), the director (James Foley) lacks vision or originality, Dakota Johnson does a better job than Jamie Dornan and the story is rather weak.

fifty shades darker2After the first film was found to be wanting the minds behind it decided not to engage director Sam Taylor-Johnson to helm the second. James Foley of House of Cards, Glengarry Glen Ross and Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” fame came on board. I guess they thought he could right the ship. Instead he struggles just as mightily as Taylor-Johnson did. Here’s an idea maybe it is the source material. Schlock produces schlock evidently.

Anastasia (played by Dakota Johnson) has decided that a relationship (and her understanding of what that means) is not possible with Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan), so she has moved on. Working now at a publishing house she seems to be getting on with her life.

Suddenly Christian is back in the picture and her life. He claims he is madly in love with her. She is not able to resist the billionaire. The battle for control over life and love begins.

Even in the bedroom things change as Anastasia asserts herself and tells Christian she is not longer willing to succumb to him. Anastasia now wants to call the shots. Complicating things even further are a trio of new characters – Anastasia’s boss (played by Eric Johnson), one of Christian’s former submissives (played by Bella Heathcote) and the older woman who made Christian the way he is, Elena Lincoln (played by Kim Basinger).

This is supposed to be a sexy film and rather is eerily devoid of emotion. So much so that you find yourself neither drawn to nor caring about either of the characters. I know, as the title of the film indicates, that this is supposed to be Darker. but really? In actuality, they could have been more successful marketing this as a comedy because there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. Not that they intended these scenes to be funny.

The final film (phew!) in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Free, is due to be released in 2018. Then you won’t have to debate going to see any more nor will I have to struggle to find some redeeming qualities about it to write about. Let the countdown begin!