Movies: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Zoë Kravitz, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner
Directed by: David Yates
Written by: J.K. Rowling
Warner Bros., 2018
PG-13; 134 minutes
3 stars (out of 5)


Well, I liked it more than the first one. But... There are still a lot of problems here. At least for me.

This film picks up six months after the last one ended. Grindelwald escapes during his extradition from New York's Ministry of Magic to London's. Three months after that, we discover Newt has been confined to the UK, his... travel pass or whatever the Ministry of Magic gives out... revoked. He's given the chance to travel again if he'll join his brother Theseus, the auror, in his work to find Grindelwald. Newt says no.

But then Dumbledore asks Newt to go to Paris to search for Grindelwald anyway. Um... I dunno. All the motivations in this film crisscross into knots. People want to find Grindelwald, they want to find Credence (remember him?), they want to find their girlfriends and sisters and... 🙄 There are a lot of unnecessary flashbacks and subplots, a lot of hitting the audience over the head with information, and not a lot of actual tension. Plus the action scenes are so heavily edited that one can't follow them; you just sort of sit and wait for them to play out. Very little sense of wonder here, or amazement at what we're seeing. And the big reveal can be spotted miles away—and contains some revisionist history so heavy handed that I just couldn't swallow it.

All this and yet, as I mentioned, I did actually like it more than the first one. Which isn't saying a ton, since I found the first one pretty meh. This one is meh, too, in other ways, and a bit irritating (again, with that revisionist history), but the story overall was more interesting. Though it had almost nothing at all to do with "The Crimes of Grindelwald."

And if you were one of those people who anticipated that Jude Law would only be on screen for about ten minutes... You were right. Pick up your prize at the door.

What did I like, then? Leta LeStrange. I think her story would be fascinating. And I like Theseus Scamander, too (what little I've seen of him). I think younger Dumbledore is cool and wouldn't mind more of that, either. Even Nagini's story might be interesting to read or watch.

But. Newt + Tina does nothing for me. Jacob + Queenie does nothing for me either. ::shrug:: I'm not sold on either of those relationships or plot lines. Not feeling the chemistry there.

So. I know I'll be in the minority. But I'm no huge Harry Potter fan to begin with; I only ever thought the series was okay. So this movie isn't aimed at me, and my lukewarm feelings toward it won't douse the fire of all the fans who are sure to love it.