‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ movie review


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*Minor Spoilers Ahead*

Following 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them" which launched the Harry Potter spinoff series in, Warner Bros. continues to build a brand new franchise off of the back of the popular lore based on J.K. Rowling's best-selling novels with director David Yates at the helm in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ movie review

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Poster/Warner Bros.

Centering on a brand new protagonist, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) - a magizoologist and an employee at the Ministry of Magic, the new saga is set decades before the main Potter series, giving fans the opportunity to revisit some familiar characters from the mythos during their youth like Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

Picking up short after Grindelwald’s arrest in New York, the dark wizard was able to escape his imprisonment with the help of his allies. While the Ministry scrambles to hunt him down, Credence Barebones (Ezra Miller) continues to be also in the wind. With both characters out of reach, the peace between Magical and Non-Magical world is once again threatened.

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Cast/Warner Bros.
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Cast/Warner Bros.

GAINS:

The cast’s performance was nothing short of great - especially Jude Law, who was able to quickly establish himself as young Albus Dumbledore in a way that fans can get behind this iteration of the character. Despite only appearing a handful of times, the film suddenly becomes energized and things somehow becomes exciting. Johnny Depp (controversy aside) also sold this version of Grindelwald, making it his own despite Colin Farrell’s equally enchanting portrayal of the character in the first “Fantastic Beasts.”

Queenie and Jacob were adorable, and despite “Crimes of Grindelwald” basically butchering their relationship, their bond will always be the heart of this saga. It remains to be seen what comes to them after the latest events in the franchise, but hopefully Rowling plays up their dynamic more moving forward instead of forcing a romance on Tina and Newt.

Finally, the return to Hogwarts was thrilling. Bonus point for a young Minerva McGonagall.

LOSSES:

The pacing of the first thirds of the film is slow - as if there wasn’t really anything significant happening other than the characters running around on their own. Pacing was especially important in order to service every key player (and there’s a lot) in the story, in the end, it felt like the story wasn’t going anywhere.

It wasn’t until the final act of the movie that it picked up steam and became intriguing. “Crimes of Grindelwald” jumped from one plot point to another, not really giving any time for the viewers to fully immerse themselves with what’s exactly happening, hence resulting in a jarring, disjointed and convoluted movie.

Everything that worked in the first movie was stripped away which was mostly the chemistry between characters. For the most part, the core foursome: Newt, Tina, Jacob and Queenie were separated. The Goldstein sisters didn’t even share the screen, it didn’t help that Tina remains to be a self-immersed character that she didn’t notice her sister’s grievances. Things only got worse with “Crimes of Grindelwald” forcing a romantic relationship between Newt and Tina.

But the biggest problem of the movie is that it felt pretentious. It spent much of its time with new characters and yet, they barely have anything to do with the central friction which is undeniably the complex history between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. At this point, there’s no real reason why this prequel saga is still titled “Fantastic Beasts” when the Beasts barely factor in the narrative. Even Newt can be taken out of the equation and be replaced by any random character who has the same moral principle and the franchise would still move forward.

Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander
Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander and Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’/Warner Bros.

At best, the “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” was a means to an end - like a filler episode of a TV show, it doesn’t have much going on when it comes to its own story. Instead, it’s primary role is to usher us to the next chapter of the prequel saga. Luckily, despite its flaws, it was able to effectively hype everyone with what lies ahead, especially with characters Potterheads are more emotionally invested in finally coming at the forefront.

RATING: 3.5 out of 10


— ALD, The Summit Express


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