"Fifty Shades Darker" doesn't do enough to illuminate its characters, story or sex.
The publishing phenomenon that was "Fifty Shades of Grey" yielded three huge bestsellers, but the first film adaptation in 2015 left a lot to be desired. And unfortunately, with this year's sequel "Fifty Shades Darker", the franchise isn't getting darker or better. For a series ostensibly about sex, the two adaptations so far have failed to truly illuminate the characters or their passions.
The story of Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) captivated audiences on the page, but onscreen they're just too blank. What truly draws this couple to each other? Why is the heroine so fascinated by her bad boy's peccadilloes? And what is an audience to make of an erotic thriller that barely contains nudity? Perhaps the third film will get the blood pumping, but this second one has just too weak a pulse.