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Fifty Shades of Grey movie avoids a whipping from the critics

Fears that the film adaptation of '50 Shades of Grey' was set to be a turkey have abated, as the first reviews suggest the movie is not half bad.

Well, not as bad as we all thought it was going to be.

Justin Chang of film bible 'Variety' described Sam Taylor Johnson's movie as not "whip-smart but this hotly anticipated bondage-porn romance is in many ways a significant improvement on EL James's novel".

The 'New York Post' called it "steamy, cheesy" and "bound to please".

Meanwhile, others were disappointed the movie contained more brooding stares than bondage scenes.

"Those looking for hot, kinky sex will be disappointed," Claudia Puig of 'USA Today' wrote.

"Fewer than 15 of the movie's 125 minutes feature sex scenes. Discussion of contracts and objections over line items outweigh erotica."

Fox News's Justin Craig claims you'll find "more disturbing scenes in 'Game of Thrones'".

Peter Bradshaw described it as the most "soft-core depiction of sado-masochism in cinema history".

But most critics seem to agree that screenwriter Kelly Marcel made the most of James's "mummy porn".

"Gone are the truly dreadful aspects of the book," Sara Stewart writes in the 'New York Post'. "And the biggest surprise may be that Ana and Christian have developed senses of humour."

Some praised Dakota Johnson's portrayal of naive ingénue Anastasia Steele.

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But others found her vacant stares and lip-biting a tad tiresome.

As for Dornan, his abs seem to be the star attraction.

"Despite all the waist-down action, the movie (is) dead from the neck up," Rafer Guzman from 'Newsday' noted.

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