I watched it with my boyfriend, who had not read the books. (Well, that’s not entirely true–he did read large passages of the first book to me. In a Cajun accent, because that actually somehow makes more sense than Jamie Dornan’s broken brogue…)
Regarding the plot/direction: The plot of the books is thin, so I didn’t expect the movie to feel more robust. What I did not expect is how much the movie assumed you’d read the book and knew what the hell was happening.
“Everything feels like a non-sequitur,” my boyfriend grumbled. I was continually explaining to him why something was happening on screen or, “well, in the books, that sentence was a four-page discussion.” EL James was personally obsessed with doing the fans a service, but Marvel can tell you–for a movie franchise to work, it’s got to make sense and be fun for people who don’t know anything about your books. This was a huge mistake. I’ve read all of the books and I was still confused about what was happening with some of the plot points.