This Valentine’s Day, forget about roses and chocolates — chances are you’ll be too busy getting tickets to see Fifty Shades Darker, the new sequel to the hit 2015 film, Fifty Shades of Grey. Based on the bestselling series by E L James, this oh-so-kinky romance is sure to steam up the big screen when it hits theaters today, and the reviews are pouring in. Here’s what top critics are saying about our favorite guilty pleasure.
Cosmopolitan: “Fifty Shades Darker is better than Fifty Shades of Grey in every imaginable way.”
Variety: “Sure to make Grey at the Valentine’s Day box office, Darker does almost nothing to [fulfill] the promise of its title, but it’s still… sleekly styled and just sexy enough to frighten a few frigid horses.”
Vanity Fair: “This is daydream cinema… but in a time with so much darkness in the real world, Fifty Shades Darker has just the light touch we all need.”
Deadline: “Fifty Shades Darker manages to be a sequel that tops its predecessor simply by not taking itself very seriously… director James Foley gets exactly what this thing should be about.”
Chicago Tribune: “[Dakota] Johnson’s subversive and sly knowingness is what makes her performance deceptively great.”
The Boston Globe: “You have a solid offering in Fifty Shades Darker, which has more plot than the previous film, and is somehow a few shades lighter and more fun to watch than the first.”
TIME: “In theory, Fifty Shades Darker is great no matter how bad it is. To call it a lousy movie is missing the point: It’s a functional movie, a girls-night-out commando mission whose job is to get in, get out, and get the job done in between.”
The New York Times: “The big tee-hee about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon is that it’s brought ostensibly scandalous heterosexual sex — with its whips and restraints — out of the shadows and into the mainstream… but it apparently took a writer as terrible as E L James… to really hit the commercial sweet spot.”
People: “[Jamie] Dornan remains puzzling: How could he be the world’s most magnetic serial killer on The Fall, and yet so uncomfortable in the comparatively run-of-the-mill role of a wealthy sadist? In many moments he looks as if he wished he could just tiptoe away and let some other actor with a similarly flawless mouth, nose, and brow step in.”
Entertainment Weekly: “Darker is strangely plotless and devoid of any real tension. Any actual plot points — spurned stalkers, creepy coworkers, helicopter crashes — are immediately resolved, often to be forgotten minutes later.”
Los Angeles Times: “Despite its culturally sanctioned titillation, including the introduction of a whole range of sex toys that are definitely not for children, this is a surprisingly dull and tedious affair where nothing is even remotely plausible, the romance and the sex least of all.”
The A.V. Club: “Every man in Ana’s life… wants to control her sexually. But she’ll only accept that sort of behavior from Christian, who can’t help following her around and controlling every aspect of her life because he’s ‘that way.’ The man is a walking red flag… [Fifty Shades Darker is] a female-driven fantasy, for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not toxic.”
Newsday: “This sequel manages the neat trick of being more explicit yet less erotic and far goofier than 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey. From its dominant top to its submissive bottom, it’s utterly ridiculous.”
USA Today: “Any pair of fish lying next to each other at Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market have more chemistry [than Johnson and Dornan].”
CNN: “Reminiscent of the old joke that ‘kinky’ means using a feather and ‘perverted’ involves the whole chicken, [Fifty Shades Darker] basically plays like an overstuffed turkey.”
The Hollywood Reporter: “Fifty Shades may take pains not to let Anastasia actually accept anything as gauche as cash for the body she hands over so willingly to her prince, as Julia Roberts did in Pretty Woman. But it’s hard to pretend this represents any meaningful step toward a future feminists can be proud of.”
Are you planning to see Fifty Shades Darker? Let us know in the comments!
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