‘FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD’ Review: “Not All That Fantastic”

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is, once again, not all that fantastic.

There was a time when the release of a film based off a book written by author J.K. Rowling was all anyone could talk about and they still do but this is not the case. The Crimes of Grindelwald wasn’t a bad movie, it was just ok. For a film that is apart of J.K. Rowling’s new ‘Wizarding World’ universe, ok is not enough. Especially since it was directed by David Yates, a director that has been a part of this world since Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It’s unacceptable and quite frankly a crime. Unfortunately, J.K. Rowling is losing her magical touch.

After Grindelwald was captured by the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Grindelwald manages to escape and flee to Paris and began to gather supporters for his pure-blood supremacy rule and also actively looking for Credence Barebone, an Obscurial with a tremendous power which Grindelwald thinks is the key to defeating Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore then tasks Newt Scamander to find Credence before Grindelwald does.

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The film starts incredibly strong with displays of incredible magic by Grindelwald that left the audience breathless but not much after that. Transitioning was one of the worst parts of the movie. The film sporadically jumps through time leaving audience members without a moment’s rest as scenes were jammed tight using bad subplots and easter eggs Rowling thought would keep the audience interested. Perhaps the news of the once trilogy now five-part story is the reason this film is tough to follow. Rowling adjusts by stretching Fantastic Beasts as far as she can using forgettable characters and meaningless subplots.

David Yates is a veteran director in the Harry Potter franchise. Now taking over the Fantastic Beasts franchise, it seems like Yates left his ability to breathe magic into Wizarding stories with Harry Potter. Yates should not take all of the blame for this disastrous sequels. It was clear the screenplay was written by Rowling. That’s not to say she can’t write she has obviously written a successful billion-dollar franchise. I would have preferred Steve Kloves (screenwriter of 7 Harry Potter films) to write the screenplay but there was a good reason Rowling penned the script. The lack of subject material would have been a headache for any screenwriter except for Rowling because she is the source. Crimes of Grindelwald falls in line with every other poor executed prequel. Rowling continues the show the fragility of a prequel based on its universe.

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The first perception seems like a lot of the allure has been changed. Rowling has always claimed to have meticulous details written about all her characters and their character development but it was missing with these. Performances from Eddie Redmayne and Co. are as good as they can be for characters without any real purpose.

Standout performer goes to Dan Folger’s Jacob he seemed to enjoy his role the most and the audience certainly enjoyed him as well. New additions to the Fantastic Beasts franchise such as Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), William Nadylam (Yusaf Kama), and Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) were at times interesting but failed to make their mark in Wizarding World. Jude Law portrays a different version Albus Dumbledore. He’s mysterious, mischief, and powerful. Not as much screen time I would have liked but there was enough character development that makes the third installment the most intriguing. Johnny Depp has had his fair share of eccentric roles but this failed in comparison to Colin Farewell’s portrayal in Where to Find Them. 

Overlook the mess of Crimes of Grindelwald for a second and focus on the mystery of Credence Barebones. Credence sole purpose in this movie is to find out his identity and it was the biggest reveal since Severus Snape. The Credence reveal was the most confusing revelation of a Harry Potter character. I figured Rowling would surprise us all as she did with Severus Snape, but this time it did not work out in her favor. Credence is the most unexpected character of the Harry Potter Universe because you never knew they existed. There is no record of his existence which makes this reveal absolutely riddikulus. As far as his companion Nagini, many fans now discovered she is indeed  THE NAGINI, but her role is completely unnecessary and the perfect example of Rowling adding characters with no character development as Easter eggs.

In reality, Crimes of Grindelwald did what it was expected. It was no masterpiece and we shouldn’t expect it to be but this was supposed to film that left you wanting more. It was clear by the end of the movie Crimes of Grindelwald was made to set up something greater but will the audience care to see another after this? I walked out of the theater dumbfounded Fantastic Beasts has three more films.

5.5/10

Daega Pinkston

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald releases in theaters this Friday, November 18th.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – “At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.”

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