Review of 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald'

2nd film in the 'Fantastic Beasts' series

fantastic_beasts2.jpg Sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sees the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escaping from prison to raise an army seeking to have wizards rule the world. After the events of the first film Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) faces a travel ban. The Ministry of Magic propose that Newt assist his auror brother Theseus (Callum Turner) in locating the Obscurial Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) the last in a long line of pure-blood wizards who Grindelwald believes is the only one capable of killing Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). Newt declines the Ministry but is later convinced by Dumbledore to travel to Paris to find Credence. Before leaving his two American friends Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) and an enchanted Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) who are now engaged to be married. Queenie's auror sister and Newt's love interest from the first film Tina (Katherine Waterston) mistakenly believes Newt to be engaged with Leta Lastrange (Zoë Kravitz) who is, in fact, engaged to Theseus. After learning Tina has gone to Paris to find Credence he ignores the travel ban and travels there with Jacob. Will they be able to find Credence in time to stop Grindelwald?

Yeah, confusing. Truth be told I had to read the synopsis on WikiPedia as I had a devil of time following it when I saw it in the cinema. Should have reminded myself before going what the first film was about (and I would recommend this for anyone going to see it). This is one of the film's greatest weakness as it demands the viewer to be very familiar with what has come before or, like me, risk being quite lost for much of it's two hour+ running time. One for the fans, surely, but not one for the only passingly familiar…though it does look great if you simply want to sit in awe of it all. Effects are, as you might expect, very good indeed with some really interesting looking characters such as the Chinese dragon-cat creature (which is also the subject of one of the few amusing jokes in the film).

Be aware that “Crimes of Grindelwald” does end up leaving a slightly bad taste in the mouth being an obvious second part to a trilogy with many plot points left seriously dangling at the end. Because of this the climactic battle scene seems, well, slightly anti-climactic though with some surprising reveals.

It is nice to see more of Depp as Grindelwald who really comes into his, camp, own here with Redmayne, if anything, even more Newt than before seeming to be perpetually looking at the floor and speaking through pursed lips as he steadfastly attempts to avoid involvement with the events unfolding around him. The levity brought to the first film by Fogler as Jacob continues here but to a much lesser extent with his character spending much of the time looking terrified and running away. Surprisingly, Sudol's Queenie takes a much more prominent and full role which is a nice surprise. But, to be honest, most of the time in this story the cast spend their time running around while Grindelwald's with his calm malevolence seeks to take over the world. Depp excels here and is, perhaps, the most interesting of all the characters.

A reasonable, fun, romp back in the wizarding world though often confusing to follow – I suspect for even those intimately familiar with the original film. Loads of story but not a lot of plot as familiar characters spend a lot of time running around and seeing amazing things. Viewers will be left hanging in the end to wait for the third film.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2018-11-26

Directed by: David Yates

Studio: Heyday Films

Year: 2018

Length: 134 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Other reviewed films in the 'Fantastic Beasts' series:

Other reviewed films by David Yates: