Christian Trevelyan Grey. Considered one the worst trilogies of the decade, the 50 Shades franchise didn’t exactly leave a memorable impression on both critics and fans. However, despite how bad the series was, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t interesting layers attached to the film franchise. One of them is the male protagonist (or antagonist?) Christian Grey, a controlling, abusive, sex fiend who’s also a handsome and rich lothario. The major problem with the 50 Shades saga is that the films mostly cared about the sex and tried to romanticize Grey as a romantic when it’s clear that he’s a deeply troubled soul who desperately needs a therapist.
Had 50 Shades taken the time to truly explore the issues of Christian Grey’s problems then it could’ve actually been something good. In some ways, it could’ve been reminiscent of the Steve McQueen film Shame, which is about a sex addict whose private life falls apart the moment his sister re-enters his life. The 50 Shades saga should’ve explored how Christian used sex as a coping mechanism to get over the trauma of his past issues. This is a man who was born in a world where his mother was a drug addict and prostitute. His father was not only a pimp but an abusive tyrant. For goodness sakes, Christian was alone with his mother’s dead corpse for four days before they were discovered by the police.
There’s so much juicy content brimming from Christian Grey’s backstory that when you peel back the layers of his character then you start to realize just how interesting he truly is. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on sex. But when the center focus of your films is mostly sex, without any themes or messages to it, then it is just a softcore version of pornography. The underlying theme of the franchise seems to be, that it’s okay to be with an abusive and controlling partner as long as he’s handsome and rich. That works fine in pornography because everyone has their kinks, but 50 Shades is billing itself as a legitimate movie so it’s best that we treat it as such. Anastasia Steele should’ve never been the protagonist. She could’ve been the beacon of hope that finally gets Christian to understand his trauma and get the help he desperately needs.
Or, if executives wanted to ever dive back into the 50 Shades world, the focus can be on Grey pre-Anastasia Steele. Highlight his life as a big executive who has to internally deal with the pain that’s he’s yet to heal from. There’s something intriguing about a man being forced to put on a smile for the outside world even though he’s a deeply broken human being. It could be a social commentary on the way men are treated when it comes to abuse, and how society views them when it comes to such a terrible incident. Has Christian Grey tried to seek any help for his pain? Was he forced to “man up” and hide his issues in fear of the world not taking him seriously or simply waving off his troubled woes?
The man still calls his mother a crack whore. Understandably, he was born into a corrupt society that scarred him for life, but his hatred for his biological mother is astounding. There’s plenty of avenues to dive into when it comes into the world of Christian Grey, and if the franchise stopped focusing on the horny housewives who oddly hate pornhub then they could actually tap into something that’s incredibly rich and thought-provoking. Any movie can be good with the right writer and director. The franchise was plagued with the original novel writer attached to it, so it was instantly doomed from the start. In fact, rebooting the franchise wouldn’t be such a bad idea, but only if it came from the perspective of Christian Grey. Oh, and E.L. James can’t be attached to the script as well. It’s not often that films in the mainstream tackle the meaning behind why some people have sex. Of course, it’s mainly used for pleasure, but as previously mentioned, it can also be a coping mechanism to forget all the pain and sorrow going on in someone’s life.
Taking the franchise in this direction will clearly be a huge risk. People who weren’t fans would scoff at the idea just because it’s attached to the 50 Shades name and original fans wouldn’t be too thrilled that their sex charged series has suddenly made such a dramatic shift in tone. Don’t be fooled by the awfulness of 50 Shades, there’s a great story deeply buried in a mountain full of crap.