Bound, Gagged & WOOED

Seeing Fifty Shades Darker could be best described by flipping one of the words in Eminem’s song, “Lose Yourself”: “Her palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.” The highly anticipated sequel did not lack in blood-pumping scenes that inspired bodily reactions. The crowd at the premiere let out a plethora of sounds, from “sweet merciful mother of Neptune,” to moans, laughs, and even some tears — damn you, Christian!

The film starts where Fifty Shades of Gray left off, with extra-corny sentimental apologies and the not-so-great-lengths that Christian went through to win back Anastasia’s love (let’s be honest, a little ass-slapping didn’t really make her lose it in the first place).

Rather than merely 120 minutes of sex-fueled relations, Fifty Shades Darker aimed to create more of a storyline this time by packing in extra drama, including a crazy ex-stalker submissive and a revengeful fired boss. The movie also adds a super “intense” moment when they make you believe that someone very important might be gone forever — oh, the tragedy! — along with the extra dramatized encounters that occur between Anastasia and “Mrs. Robinson” (the woman who taught Christian about S&M).

This movie is obviously not the kind that wins awards for phenomenal performances, yet there is one notable positive: Aside from the overly exaggerated acting in the majority of the film, the main characters, Christian, played by Jamie Dornan, and Anastasia, played by Dakota Johnson, were clearly more comfortable this time around, embracing potentially awkward intimate scenes and performing them well. It was obvious that the butterflies from the first film were gone.

The film’s soundtrack most definitely gets an A-plus. With original songs from Zayn and Taylor Swift, it scores big with featured tracks. Other major artists include Sia and Nick Jonas.

The sequel contrasts from the first by incorporating more romance; rather than simply working out a sex contract, the two characters fall more and more in love through Fifty Shades Darker. But with more romance comes more bondage, apparently, including some full-throttle, explicit S&M sex scenes. If we’re all being honest, though, that’s why we go see these films and read the godawful books.

Overall, the movie is worth a see. As long as you don’t go in with any high expectations for an amazing, life-altering experience, this is a fun film worth a visit to the megaplex … or maybe just a $1.29 rental from Redbox so you can watch it in the privacy of your own home. It really just depends on whether you want to watch a fake porno on an extra-large screen with a theater full of random strangers.