Fifty Shades Darker: the best hatchet-job reviews of the S&M trilogy’s sloppy second film

It’s a dark day for fans of angsty S&M: apparently Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to 2015’s E.L. James adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey, is actually just quite boring. It’s not even worth watching it to ridicule it: critics practically snored their way through it for the first time last night (February 9), despite there being a lol-sounding fingering scene, in a lift, accompanied by the sounds of Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’. Amid the grey melodrama there was reportedly one saving grace – Jamie Dornan on a pommel horse, which reportedly drew actual applause – but what about its terrible cinematic crimes? What makes this film quite so unwatchable? Come, let us guide you through the best lines from critics’ terrible reviews so far.

The Guardian – 1 star

“The sex scenes [are] steamy as a greasy spoon and almost as erotic. Fifty Shades’s chief way of proving how dirty it is seems to be making its stars take endless showers – which inevitably leads to more sex, and so a terrible cycle of shagging and washing.”

LA Weekly

“No safeword can protect you from the sequel’s depleting incoherence, its punishing pileup of plot and its inability to successfully stage, even once, the franchise’s claim to notoriety: sex scenes, whether accessorized with hardware or not.”



Darker does almost nothing to fulfil the promise of its title.”

The Independent – 1 star

“In the course of the movie, Christian undergoes a surprising transformation from troubled sexual sadist to conventional leading man, ready to go down on his bended knee for his beloved. The downside is that he is duller as a personality at the end of the film than at the beginning.”

Rolling Stone – ½ star

“Will Arnett and Rosario Dawson generate more erotic heat in The Lego Batman Movie. And they’re made of plastic.”

The New York Times

“The sex is strained and certainly seems to burn serious calories (Christian flips Anastasia like a pancake), but finally pales next to the commodity fetishism. The use of Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream, however, made for great product placement.”

The Daily Mail – 1 star

“All things considered, if it weren’t for the S&M scenes, it would be an exceedingly dull film. With them, it is both dull and silly, which is worse.”

Screen Daily

Fifty Shades Darker is a smorgasbord of silliness, its dopey pleasures indistinguishable from its many awkwardly melodramatic moments.”

The Telegraph – 2 stars


“There’s a wine-tossing, face-slapping, cocktail party showdown here that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Dynasty, and a masked ball so heavy on chintz and cheese and coloured spotlights, you keep expecting Jim Carrey’s Riddler to burst through the window and announce that he’s poisoned the vol-au-vents.”

 The A.V. Club – D

“The sex scenes — which do get kinky eventually, but very mildly so — are… brusque, as if they can’t wait to get this shit over, either. But the plot just keeps coming, all of it driven by the romantic idea of the redemptive power of love. It’s a female-driven fantasy, for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not toxic. And God help the poor woman who believes it.”