If you're electing to sit down and watch Fifty Shades Darker, chances are you know what you're getting yourself into. You know you're not going to watch something riddled with deep meaning. You know it's not going to leave you stunned at the end, silenced and lost in your thoughts like Arrival might. You're going to watch a story of two very attractive human beings tangled in a taboo sexual love affair just trying to learn how to communicate better with one another—like we all do in relationships, dammit! It's eye candy with minimal cranial effort. And yet, after a screening of the Fifty Shades sequel this past Wednesday, I was left with more questions than I had even expected. (Confession: I only read the first Fifty Shades book and Grey, so I'm in the dark as to what happens in the final installment. Sorry!)
But before I get into all of the plot conundrums, let me answer one question I'm sure you're all wondering: How was Rita Ora? She was great! A revelation, in fact. The bob wig is gone, and she genuinely made the screen light up. I hope she and Dakota Johnson's Anastasia Steele become friends. Ana needs friends and Ora makes Christian Grey's sister Mia seem really nice.
Johnson, too, plays Ana better than she should, which, in turn, makes the movie better than it should be. I think I'm a Dakota stan.
Now, how much darker does Fifty Shades Darker go? Not that much, but, hey, I could be wrong and wholeheartedly desensitized towards BDSM and mom-erotica. Anyway, on to my questions, which take the place of any sort of deep analytical story, because, truthfully, I don't even know how it's possible to read too much into what was happening on screen. Case in point: After doe-eyed Ana lays down the whole "I'm not going to be with you until you tell me about your past" rule, Christian responds with, "My mom was an addict... crack. You can fill in the blanks." Spoiler: No, we can't! It's all just... blank. Anyway, here's what was tying up my brain while there was other tying up going on in front of me.
- Should I be reading into the "let's not run before we learn to walk" theme, or nah?
- Did we see all those burn marks on Christian's torso and back in the first movie?
- What are those marks?
- When will the nipple clamps come out to play? There was definite foreshadowing...
- Why on earth did Christian wear a nice, expensive white button-down with red lipstick-touching boundaries drawn on his chest and NO undershirt? (You're reading that correctly.)
- How did Christian get access to Ana's bank account? And why transfer $24,000 instead of a nice, normal $25,000?
- Should I reach out to a numerologist to talk about the significance of the number 24? It comes up a few times...
- Does Jack (Ana's boss) know Christian, or is his masculinity so fragile and threatened by a 28-year-old billionaire?
- Were those silver balls Christian (sorta) asked Ana to wear inside her [redacted] during his parents' charity event vibrating? How did they pleasure her?
- Wait, when did Ana change out of the expensive lingerie she spent so long getting into and instead wear nothing under her ball gown?!
- How did Ana get her hair all back and perfect after her cocktail hour delight with Christian inside Christian's childhood bedroom while the gala was still going on? Could the others hear them spanking one another?
- Was Ora foreshadowing a future kidnapping?
- When will they take that week-long vacation in Aspen that Ana paid $24,000 for?
- Why is no one talking about how extravagantly they all live?
- Is Halsey good kinky sex music?
- Did Leila (Christian's troubled ex) really go to the psych ward? I'm not convinced.
- Was Christian really okay to have super-intense sex after his helicopter crashed?
- Did the cast know how extra that helicopter crash scene was while filming?
- Was Marcia Gay Harden's character really friends with Kim Basinger's Mrs. Robinson?
- Is Kim Basinger's Mrs. Robinson really going to give up that easy?
- How apathetic are these people?
- Is apathy what the "darker" stands for?
- Is there anything more satisfying than watching a woman throw a nice cocktail in another person's face? (No!)
- Am I going to see the next one and walk away content with my life choices as I did this one? Absolutely.
Fifty Shades Darker is in theaters now.