First of all, if you haven’t seen the movie yet:
I don’t remember ever being more excited for anything than I was for the release of Fifty Shades of Grey. Sure, I was fully on the Jamie Dornan is #NotMyChristian train, and there was just something about the Dakota lip biting poster that was plastered all over movie theaters everywhere that I found extraordinarily unappealing, but I was hype. Crazy hype. February 13th 2015 was not a chill day for me. It was a Friday and I didn’t get any work done. I sat at my desk and I listened to interview after interview about the movie on my iPhone and stared at the clock like I was afraid glancing away for even a second would make the world explode. But I made it through the day, and that night, when I finally got to witness the spectacle that was Fifty Shades of Grey, I was not disappointed (unlike apparently everyone else in the fifty community)
From the very beginning, I was sold. Even IN the movie theater, I was pre-planning my #JamieDornanIsTheOnlyChristianGrey tweets and fighting the urge to get on Fandango and purchase tickets for the next seven days. When I left the theater, I got in the car and googled when Fifty Shades Darker was coming out, and that’s when my Fifty high was doused with an ice cold bucket of reality.
Fifty Shades Darker: February 10th 2017
2017. Twenty MOTHER FUCKING seventeen. I have a handy dandy countdown app in my phone that I immediately plugged the date into and it told me: 728 days.
How the fuck was I supposed to fill 728 days?! Well, let me tell you. I re-read the books, read GREY, found a fellow group of obsessives, and oh yeah… may have started a ridiculously long FanFiction which I’m convinced I will be writing until the end of time. I was suddenly ravenous for ANYTHING Jamie Dornan was in, I was stalking E.L. James twitter like crazy, waiting for filming updates, and when they FINALLY did start filming, I was checking for pictures and videos DAILY. Then came the trailers, the teaser clips, the talk show interviews… and FINALLY, 2 years and two days later, it arrived. Fifty Shades Darker was in theaters and I had tickets, a tub of popcorn, red vines, and the largest Diet Coke money could buy.
I was ready.
Maybe it’s because it’s been two years of anticipation. Maybe it’s because I’ve been talking about this so much with the internet peeps. Maybe it’s because, between all the clips and teasers we’ve gotten over the past few months, it felt as though I had already seen the entire movie, but when I left the theater after my initial viewing, I was having an existential crisis.
It was okay. I didn’t hate it. But I also didn’t love it.
I felt betrayed, devastated. I replayed it in my mind over and over again trying to figure out where it had all gone wrong. Thankfully, I know myself, and that I’m very over analytical. Even just thinking over every scene of the movie, I realized how critical I was being. I’d gone into the movie keeping track of everything that was left out, everything they had changed, and to see how many of the foreign actors simply couldn’t pull off an American accent: See Bella Heathcote.
I needed to see if again, knowing what to expect, and I’m so happy that I did, because the second time, I loved it.
Good god, is he even human? I’d like to take this moment to formally retract ALL of the complaints I had about Jamie Dornan from the first movie. His acting was really great, his accent has vastly improved, and his body… hot damn. There was life to Christian. He was funny and adorable and FINALLY a person, not some autistic sex alien sent to Earth to seduce all the virgins of the world. The way he looked at Anastasia, the way he smiled at her, the way he held himself around her, there was love (though not really, more on that later.) Jamie Dornan gets no criticism from me. Five Stars.
Dakota has done for Anastasia what E.L. James and three books couldn’t, and that’s turn this character into a multidimensional, interesting person, who I not only want to hang out with on weekends, but who also feels empowering. She’s cute, she’s funny, she knows what she wants, she knows her limits, and she sticks to them. She was a powerhouse in this movie and that scene where she put Jack on his ass was awesome. Dakota is able to bring a lightness to Anastasia that I think is absent from the books and it’s not only welcome, it’s necessary.
I was not expecting this, but this was probably my favorite scene of the whole movie. They were just so damn cute together. Everything from the “So this is where your tying knots expertise comes from” line to Christian’s made up story about the old sea widow had me reduced to a puddle of warm goo on the movie theater floor. I’m not one of the people who hate the Taylor Swift/Zayn song, I actually have listened to it every day up to the premiere, but I do wish it hadn’t been so loud. There were some cute dialogue moments that were definitely over powered by the music, including Dakota’s incredibly adorable, “I’m doing it, I’m the captain!”
Those who were disappointed by the sex in the first movie, are not going to feel the same after this one. It’s not only more numerous than the first movie, but it’s also much more explicit. Jamie Dornan sucking Dakota Johnson’s nipples anyone? We got some of Christian’s dirty talk, we got some good old fashioned kinky fuckery, and Christian went down on Anastasia in basically every sex scene. Good on you, Christian. Good on you.
Okay, I admit it. I have a thing for villains. I need drama to survive and where does drama come from? A really great villain, and Eric Johnson as Jack Hyde was absolutely incredible. He was believable playing the good guy part, the subtly of his growing obsession was spot on, and the final spiral down was flawless. That scene where he cornered Ana in his office and tried to coerce her into have sex with him was actually terrifying, and even though I knew what happened, I was still on the edge of my seat. I can’t say enough good things about Jack Hyde in this movie. If Fifty Shades Darker didn’t ALSO star the has-to-be-some-kind-of-Greek-demi-god Jamie Dornan, he’d have my vote as best male character 100x over.
Well it’s this now,
And I think we can all rejoice. And Christian’s “It’s very blonde” reaction was just icing on the cake for this NECESSARY change.
Loved it. Every detail. It not only feels like a real place now, but also much more opulent. This is where a billionaire would live. And that wine cellar wall? Pure Christian Grey. I would still like to know where Ana’s department store… errrr closet is though. Or where it was in Fifty Shades of Grey…
And not in a good way. Look, I know everyone hates Elena Lincoln, but I’m fascinated in the potential she has as a character. Unfortunately, this movie lived up to NONE of that. She was so… frail. This woman is supposed to be a bad ass dominatrix, and yet, she came a cross as meak, soft spoken, jealous lover rather than a wicked bitch desperate to keep her place of power. She’s the ultimate bady, but she was so overshadowed by Jack Hyde that I almost forgot she was even in the movie.
This Entire Scene:
This is going to be a long one because there isn’t one thing I hated about this scene, it was basically all of it. Number one, when Anastasia turns around and sees Leila, she IMMEDIATELY starts with the whole, do you want to see Christian? He’s downstairs. He loves you. I’m nothing. I get why she did it, this was a terrifying situation and she was really just doing whatever it took to survive, but that also started before a gun was ever even brought out. She didn’t try to talk her down first, didn’t even ask her what she was doing or how she got in. She just immediately jumped into the Christian stuff and that felt weird to me. Number two, when Christian came in I actually thought, oh good, here comes Jamie Dornan to save this train wreck of a scene. I think he played the Dom role very well at first, especially that quiet, whispered “kneel”, and then he started… petting her? What the fuck was that? Even as a Dom/Sub relationship in that moment, that’s rewarding her for breaking into your girlfriend’s house and pulling a gun on her. And I get that they needed Anastasia to see a bond between them for her to get mad to get to the whole next part, but that should have been done through Christian DOMINATING Leila, because that’s what Anastasia can’t do for him… be submissive. Instead of those stupid hand motions, they should have been commands. I needed more and I didn’t get it. It made it so when Ana was walking through Seattle later, I was like, what are you even thinking about? That was super weird, do you really think Christian was into that? But that brings me to…
Christian, the Submissive:
Let me start with the one positive. When Jamie came out of the kitchen and said the, “Where the fuck have you been?” line, I was like that is it. He was Christian Grey in that one line and I was overjoyed. Then the rest happened.
I don’t even know where to start here. The whole “argument” felt so rushed. He literally went from “I’ve had people out combing the streets to find you” angry to on his knees in like 3 lines of dialogue. There was no build up to that moment, so when it happened, I was like, what the fuck are you doing? They didn’t even really explain what he was doing so if you didn’t read the book, it’s very possible that that was all just very confusing. Then they both exchange some horrible lines and Christian lets Ana touch his chest, and he doesn’t even flinch. He’s not over the touch issues, he was giving that to her because he was giving all of himself to her in that moment. The acceptance of her touch comes later. It was very glossed over and, as one of the most pivotal moments in the entire series, I think this was the biggest failure of the movie. Thank god for the dream sequence that immediately follows and that adorable cuddle because, had that been left out, I think it would have taken me the entire rest of the movie for me to get the taste of this horrible scene out of my mouth.
^Not an actual line from the movie.
Was the script better than the first? Yes. Low bar to set, but yes, it was better. Was the pacing better? No. This movie is much more fast paced, a lot more happens, but so many things were rushed. I’ve already talked about the Leila with the gun and the Christian submissive scenes, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Anytime this movie needed to build on emotion, it was rushed and ultimately fell flat. The gallery, Elena’s outing to Grace… There were so many conversations that felt clunky and unnatural simply because a character needed to bring up X so we could move onto Y, but they needed to do it quickly because this movie has to be under 2 hours. Did anyone else think that Ana jumped to “You’re buying SIP” real fast? How about Grace slapping Elena? Sure she may have heard the “You taught me to fuck…” line, but what if he had been 21? She didn’t get any of the anguish from Christian that she overheard in the book because, chop chop, we gotta fit in more sex scenes. Hey, maybe this is one of those things that’s going to be fixed on this amazing extended DVD we’re supposed to get. God hope so.
Dear Universal. Can you please make a fan version of Freed, and really every other book to movie picture you make from here on out that’s 5 hours long? We won’t mind, I promise you.
Also… I love you, Anastasia? Not once was this uttered in the movie. Not. Even. Once. How in the actual fuck….? E.L. James, you have some explaining to do.
Wait, what? But you just said….
I know, I know. Here’s my problem with the sex.
- Did anyone else feel like some of these sex scenes where just shoved in there because the main complaint about the first one was that there wasn’t enough sex? Maybe this goes back to my pacing issue, but the spreader bar scene especially seemed just slapped in there. Confession time: I’d trade the spreader bar scene for more time in the submissive Christian scene. I said it, I don’t regret it.
- We’ve been through two movies of these beautiful humans having sex, and, as I mentioned before, Christian was particularly giving in the oral department. Number of blowjobs Ana has given to date: 0. What kind of man puts up with that non-sense?
- Does Anastasia ever wear a bra?
- Look Jamie, I know it’s not your choice… but pants on in every scene? Come on! #ShowTheD
Okay, I know this is probably not going to bother literally anyone else, but it made me cringe the whole way through the movie. We didn’t see a lot of “Seattle” in FSoG because they were in Portland (See: WMGWH’s least favorite city) for half the movie, and then when they were in Seattle they were in Christian’s apartment.
Now I will say this. For those of you who haven’t been to Seattle before, the view from Christian’s apartment is OUTSTANDINGLY accurate. I would believe it if someone went to the top of the actual Escala building and took one of the 3D panoramic pictures to turn into set screens for the windows because not only are the buildings and landmarks accurate, they’re accurate in relation to Escala. The Sea Wheel, Century Link Stadium, The Space Needle, Harbor Island, the Sound itself, all perfectly in place. I think maybe that’s what built my expectations up so high because when we got into the actual Seattle, those expectations were crushed.
I know this movie was filmed in Vancouver and not Seattle, but TIL that Vancouver looks NOTHING LIKE SEATTLE. Scratch that, the area they filmed SIP in looks exactly like Pioneer Square. I was fully emerged at that point until…
So if you know me, you know that I show preference towards a certain football team from the Pacific Northwest… This is a screenshot from just outside of Ana’s office, a set that is seen SEVERAL times throughout the movie, over and over again, and that flag in that box, that’s the 12th man flag. Except it isn’t. This is:
The color, the font… it’s all wrong. I know you guys don’t care. But I do. A lot. And it’s freaking all over this movie. Good on whoever was the set designer for knowing that Seattle is crazy ’bout them ‘Hawks, but bad on Universal for not paying the licensing for the actual 12th flag and subjecting me to this bullshit for 2 hours.
Anyway, overall, I did like the movie. Much better the second time, and I’m hoping even more the 3rd, 4th, and 5th time… but it had it’s drawbacks. Is it better than the first, I could argue that after my 2nd viewing. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll at least like the movie, if not love it. There was a lot in here that felt like it was kept just for the die-hards, so I appreciate that.
What I don’t appreciate is knowing that the 3rd film is already finished but we still have to wait to see it for 363 days, 02 hours, 22 minutes and 46, 45, 44….
Oh well, I guess in the meantime I’ll just be