THE anticipated sequel to 2015’s ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was released on Friday following advertisements which promised ‘no more secrets’ and ‘no more rules’ while stars Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steel) and Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) described ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ as being a sexier and ultimately more risqué installment in the series This turned out not to be case…

‘Fifty Shades Darker’ follows on from the first film’s ending, with Anastasia having left Christian after realizing the true extent of his sadomasochistic desires.

Christian, in his usual ‘no doesn’t always mean no’ approach, refuses to accept this; he sends expensive flowers to her apartment, buys every portrait of her in a photography gallery – because ‘I don’t like other people gawking at you’ – and buys the publishing company she works for in an attempt to maintain control over Ana and her life.

Ana spends the film going through the motions of a cycle one can only see as resembling the effects of emotional abuse, she is hurt, won over with affection (this time in the form of more ‘vanilla’ sex and designer clothes) and damaged again by Christian and his ever present mother issues.

The couple spend most of the lagging 2 hour and twenty minute run time either bathing or fighting, while the sex scenes supposedly designed to tease and titillate left half the audience in awkward giggles, and the others questioning ‘is that it?’

For a dominant supposedly extremely well versed in the lifestyle, the toys in his Red Room of Pain stay exactly there for the majority of the film. Clamps are tested merely on fingers, floggers are nowhere to be seen, while one of the only new toy to make an appearance is a  spreader bar which earns a short scene in broad daylight of a spare bedroom.

A far cry from the plush red leather and seductive settings of his famous room which caused the global frenzy and trips to B&Q for ropes and chains upon the books release.

The film, much like one of Christian’s former subs who makes an appearance, spends most of it’s time on it’s knees, crawling through a storyline surrounding Ana’s boss who wants her for himself and will reach new levels of ‘HR should be alerted to this’ in order to make this happen.

There’s also a  helicopter crash somehow less riveting than the Corrie tram accident and a sub-plot involving ‘Mrs. Robinson’, the woman who indoctrinated Christian into the lifestyle (or committed child abuse, you decide) who sees Ana as a ‘mousey little nothing out to get his money.’

All in all, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ is a bore, a slice of cinematic work more vanilla than a signature bake on the Great British Bake Off. Fans looking for something edgier will leave dissatisfied and bored, proving Mr. Grey may not be as good in bed as they had once believed.

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