Film Review: Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald

HO00005124-lgFantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald

Release date: 16th November 2018

Director: David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Zoë Kravitz

Runtime: 134 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 4/5 stars

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the anticipated sequel 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Following the events of the first film, Credence is looking for his birth family in Paris, and Albus Dumbledore sends Newt Scamander to find him. Meanwhile, dark wizard Grindelwald is also seeking Credence.

Having loved the first film in this spin-off series, I couldn’t wait to see The Crimes of Grindelwald. While I absolutely loved the film and was not disappointed, I can’t help but feel it could have been even better.

This film takes places primarily in Paris, and falls short on the high standard set by the setting of New York in the first film. 20s New York really came to life in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but the sequel took surprisingly little advantage of the potential Paris had to be an equally dynamic setting. There were a couple of moments where I got a sense the characters were in France, but for much of it they could have been just about anywhere. Since the first film set such a high standard, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that the filmmakers didn’t utilise the Parisian setting more.

There are a lot of plot strands in this film, and I feel like I need to watch it again to completely grasp everything that happened. There are many new characters, a lot of new backstory to get your head around, and some surprising twists that throw up more questions than answers. At times the plot felt a little meandering, without an obvious end goal beyond finding Credence. This film, which we must remember is part of a whole being only the second in the series, seemed to set up a lot for the future films.

Newt is a brilliant character and I love that he’s not your typical hero. Though I still haven’t got a grasp on why Dumbledore chooses him to carry out the task of finding Credence. Is it because Newt met him in New York so is familiar to him? The reason is never explained, and I’m hoping it becomes clearer in the rest of the films, otherwise Newt’s involvement is a little tenuous.

As there were so many characters, many of them suffered from a lack of screen time. There was no sign of affection between Leta and Theseus, who are engaged. Perhaps it was a marriage of convenience, rather than one based on love? I certainly saw no sign that they cared for each other at all, until very near the end of the film. Zoë Kravitz played Leta excellently and Jude Law made for a great young Dumbledore. McGonagoll’s brief appearance was a little confusing, as she shouldn’t even be born yet. But I have faith Rowling wouldn’t make such a big slip up, and have assumed that this is perhaps a relative of the Minerva McGonagoll we know.

While I have said a lot of negative things above, I still loved the film. There were far more nods to the Harry Potter books than the first Fantastic Beasts film, which will satisfy fans of the series. The wizarding world remains as enchanting as ever.

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