By Allison Hazlett-Rose
Nov 15, 2018 09:50 AM EST

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Theatrical Review

While the magical aspects and visuals are appealing, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is clunky and awkward.  Fan of the Potter Universe will no doubt go to see it but shouldn’t expect it to be as inviting as the first film.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Theatrical Review
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J.K.Rowling couldn't have imagined the phenomenon she created when she originally spun a story about a magical world and a boy wizard.  Like so many of the comic book superheroes, Harry Potter has become its own universe with avid fans of all ages worldwide.  When the eight films ended there was a certain sadness to see it all come to a close but that was soon remedied when in 2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them debuted in theaters.  Two years later we now have the second installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald coming just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.

As the film opens we see Grindelwald (Johnny Depp; Pirates of the Caribbean Series) locked away in a magical cell ready to be transported back to Europe to stand trial.  However, through his devious magical means, he escapes and ends up in Paris, France.  Meanwhile back in London Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne; The Theory of Everything) finds himself at the Ministry of Magic hoping to have his travel ban lifted but when he refuses to go work for them they deny his request leaving him to stay in England and simply care for his beasts.  After two visits - one from Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law; The Talented Mr. Ripley) and the other from Queenie (Alison Sudol; Between Us) and Jacob (Dan Fogler; Fanboy) – Newt ends up in Paris though.

He goes there looking for Tina (Katherine Waterson; Alien: Covenant) who herself is trying to locate Credence (Ezra Miller; Justice League), an obscurial who can unleash awesome and destructive powers.  Unfortunately, Grindelwald is also looking for Credence who he believes can help him in his quest for power to take over the world from the "no-majes".  Credence, meanwhile, is simply searching to find out who he truly is and if he has any family.

Director David Yates, who directed half of the Harry Potter movies, returns for this sequel and makes his presence felt.  His sweeping and dynamic visuals bring the viewer inside this world and embraces them as part of the scenery.  The look of the films is truly magical while the tone is much darker than the original Fantastic Beasts movie.  There is less humor this go around and that is partially due to his direction and partially due to Rowling's writing.

The film is well cast with all of the main actors reprising their roles form the first movie.  Redmayne is a perfect choice for the awkward, nerdy and slightly off centered Scamander while Waterson blends nicely with him as Tina.  Law has a commanding presence on the screen which helps to make his Dumbledore believable.  Sudol and Fogler reunite as the adorable couple we all fell in love with the first time around.  Depp, however, doesn't really add much to the movie.  Gone is his eccentric quirkiness that he brought to Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates franchise and is replaced by a sinister albino - for lack of a better word (a side note: Depp isn't especially attractive as a washed out blonde).  Miller is equally as sinister but with an almost childlike demeanor that garners him some sympathy from the audience.

While the magical aspects and visuals are appealing, the story is clunky and awkward.  The detail-laden script is confusing and convoluted but without the humor and fun of the first film. Fan of the Potter Universe will no doubt go to see it but shouldn't expect it to be as inviting as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them and even though the series is slated for several more films in the franchise it will be interesting to see how many of those actually come to fruition. 

Grade: C

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About Allison Hazlett-Rose



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