Internet, I’m going to level with you: In the last two weeks I’ve watched a ton of good movies. I saw John Wick Chapter 2, I saw Green Room, which is an excellent indie horror film on Netflix, and I saw The Great Wall, which at the very least was gorgeous.
I also saw the Fifty Shades sequel.
You ever find yourself saying something dumb like, “I would only do that if you paid me”? It turns out that Greg was prepared to pay me. Low Five comped my ticket and popcorn, and at that point I felt obligated because, y’know, it’s my job. I write for you people. I suffer for you people.
Speaking of masochism…
As you might recall, the last movie ended with a break-up. We’re shortly past that now. Titular disturbed hot guy Christian Grey has some nightmares about being beaten as a kid, which is a great place to start because it implies that all of his fetishes stem from childhood abuse and neglect. You’ll notice that this becomes a recurring theme as time goes on.Meanwhile, Anastasia “Ana” Steele, still named like the porn parody of a Russian princess, has begun working at a small-time publisher in the big city. She’s a secretary and yet seems to be doing the job of an editor and proofreader. I know this because I used to, briefly, be an editor and proofreader. Her job looks way nicer than mine did, I promise.
Ana decides to go to her friend José’s photography show where she discovers that, without her permission, José has put six enormous photos of Ana up for sale. Creepier still, someone has bought the whole set. Three guesses as to who that might be. (This is never mentioned again.)
Ana and Christian grab dinner.
At dinner, Christian claims that his BDSM activities are behind him, which isn’t true at all. Ana insists that if they’re going to get back together the dynamic of their relationship needs to be less one-sided: No orders, no punishments, whatever. She advocates for compromise and negotiation, which is nice because we’re fifteen minutes into this movie and it’s not setting off any horrible “emotional abuse” alarms. Ana, for the first time in two movies, shows real honest feminine agency. They get back together. Boo.
Ana’s being stalked by a weird emaciated woman who looks like her. Every time Ana turns around and back again, the woman disappears. I begin to suspect that this woman is Batman.
Christian chivalrously purchases Ana’s publishing company. “Chivalrously” here means, “Oh God, why are you sticking your dick in her career?” Apparently he’s been meaning to buy a publishing company for a while now, and what better way to move into the publishing industry than by torpedoing your girlfriend’s livelihood? Because everyone knows a woman who’s actively sleeping with her boss gets nothing but respect and admiration in the workplace.
Batman continues to stalk Ana, so she asks Christian what the deal is. This woman is a former submissive of his, and he broke the relationship off when things got too serious. She took it well, which is why she’s now relentlessly following Ana around.Okay, now here’s where this movie starts to get funny.
See, it’s around this time that it becomes really abundantly clear that the production staff stopped giving a shit while making this movie. We see a long scene where Ana is getting ready for a masquerade ball (It’s erotica so of course there’s a masquerade ball). She puts on lingerie, a garter belt, hose, the whole nine yards. This scene is like five minutes long, they draw a ton of attention to it.
But then Christian and Ana decide to bump uglies at the ball, and when she takes her dress off she’s just in a bra and panties. Later, when they’re back at the house, she’s wearing the lingerie again. You start noticing weird costuming things all throughout the movie after this. People will change clothes when they turn a corner in a hallway. It’s pretty amazing.
At the ball Ana meets Christian’s old girlfriend, Kim Basinger. I don’t know the character’s name, I probably missed it while I was uttering the phrase “How the mighty have fallen.” Kim tells Ana that Christian is damaged goods and that he can’t be saved, or whatever. Ana disagrees.
When they get home they see that Batman has fucked up Ana’s car with paint and a crowbar, which is kind of awesome. Around now, Ana and Christian move in together. Ana’s boss also tries to rape her, which gets him fired and she takes his job. For those of you playing along at home, prior to this she was a secretary, and she’s been working there for maybe a month.
As Ana’s picking up her stuff for the move, she’s accosted by Batman who now has a gun. This of course proves that she’s not Batman because the real Batman would never use guns, but I don’t remember the character’s name, so, y’know, bear with me. Batman tries and fails to shoot Ana in the face so Christian shows up and orders her to kneel, which she does. He takes the gun and they leave. That’s the last we see of Batman, which is a shame because she was the closest thing we had to an interesting character.
A protracted amount of nothing happens, which culminates in Christian asking Ana to marry him. She is indecisive, which I personally think gives you your answer right there, but no.
Then, for no reason, Christian gets in a helicopter crash.
Seriously, it comes out of nowhere. He’s on his way back from a business trip to Portland and his helicopter’s engines flame out. He goes down a couple miles from Mount St. Helens. It’s unbelievable. For the first time since Batman disappeared, I’m suddenly intrigued.
We cut away to Ana and the Grey family watching the news as they report on the missing billionaire. Everyone is freaking out because when you crash a helicopter into the woods it tends to go pretty badly for all involved. Suddenly, the news reporter announces “Christian Grey has been found and he’s on his way home as we speak.” And she’s not kidding, because in the middle of that sentence Christian opens the door and walks in, totally fine and dressed in completely different clothes. I know it was probably a production error but I like to think he stopped to change before coming to reassure everyone.
The whole sequence takes about six minutes. There’s a helicopter crash for no fucking reason. This is like watching The Room without any of the charm. Ana, in her relief, agrees to marry Christian.
Christian has a birthday party and Kim Basinger is there to try to fuck everything up again, but Ana throws a drink in her face. Then out of nowhere Christian’s mom shows up and knocks Kim the fuck out. It’s actually kind of badass, as far as old upper-class white women go.
Some fireworks go off, and in the distance Ana’s rapey boss watches the festivities. Y’know, menacingly. Roll credits.
I’ll admit, this movie was more palatable than the last one—that’s like saying I had the flu instead of pneumonia, but it’s still an improvement. At the very least, this movie was so gob-fucked insane that every now and then it piqued my curiosity: Between being stalked by Batman, Kim Basinger being kind of a bitch, and a completely arbitrary helicopter crash, there was something watchable maybe every forty minutes or so. The last one didn’t even have that.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen; that review cost Greg twenty-five bucks and it cost me two hours of my time. The real positive to take away from this is that I won’t have to watch another one of these fucking Fifty Shades movies until 2018. I’m free for another year. Sweetly, gloriously free. And after that I’ll be done with them forever! It’s like seeing a small speck of light at the end of a sewer.
Scott Watmough has many strong opinions about many things that he knows very little about. They're usually about video games.