Let's be honest, this entire trilogy should have been adapted for TV: if Grey was the so-so first series that was panned by critics but loved by fans, Darker is the second series that gets people at large to invest their time into the story. The same metaphor can be applied to the original source material: both awfully written, but shit actually goes down in book two that made people want Freed.

But this is not TV: this is a two hour long film that had it been optioned by a brave television production company (looking at you HBO) and given the treatment any fanfiction adaptation needs -  established writers, reputable directors, and decent actors - it would have lived up to all of its potential despite its very lowly origins.

That's not to say that Darker is a bad film! In comparison to Grey it's an award winning improvement, in comparison to its source material it's practically unrecognisable: the writers have done what I thought impossible in actually finding a movie worth of plot amongst the sex, and pulling it together with a bit of original material to actually make this something worth watching... if you can get past the flaws.

Because despite the 120 minute run time all this film feels like is the skimming over of what could be phenomenal story arcs full of character development and tensions, just so it could get to the end and say 'we did this! We made this book into one film without having to spend more time/money/man power needed to do so!'

And that's why I think this franchise would have been better as TV: between the return of an ex-sub, the sexually harassing boss, Ana and Christian's relationship issues, and Christian's trouble with his past, I thought there was enough potential to extrapolate what was given to us in the books without dishonouring James' original vision.

Performance wise there was little change: Dornan pulls a struggling Christian off well in the quieter moments of the film, but Johnson was never made to play a 'vulnerable' character. Ana is meant to be a mouse: scared, nervous, naive, and innocent, but Johnson can't pull that off believably. The only way I know that this was just a mis-casting and not just a 'bad actress getting the role because she looks the part' is because of what the writers did to the character of Ana, which is giving her a spine. If you've read the books you know that Ana is just an empty vessel for the reader to put herself into the story: she has no character, no backstory, and no personality; she's just a placeholder for the readers fantasies. But that cannot pass in films (it doesn't pass in anime either!) and so for the writers to give Ana a backbone, personality, a bit of wit and sass makes her a more concrete character. So when those moments come about on film Johnson owns it and seems more comfortable in her skin.

Published by Eldest Warwick