Warning: Contains spoilers of the first movie, but not of the second.
Fans of the wizarding world have just been gifted with another movie from J.K. Rowling’s universe — Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Almost two years ago, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first movie of the series, was released, earning as much as $85 million.
After Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was revealed, Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) was believed to be eliminated, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) got banned from leaving England and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) got obliviated in the last movie, in this one you will see all the consequences of it, plus one of the most loved characters of Rowling’s universe, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law).
The plot is that in 1927, Grindelwald was a prisoner held by the American Ministry of Magic when he escapes and starts to go after Credence. While Newt was trying to get his traveling licence back, he reencounters his old friends, Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Allison Sudol) and Jacob.
The movie focuses on Grindelwald recruiting wizards to join his ideology that wizards are superior to non-magicals, also known as muggles, believing that the wizards should be in charge of the society. Which, for me, was a big social criticism since it reminded me of a racist leader trying to convince society that it is OK to measure people’s importance on society by their races.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald starts with a lot of action, gets kind of monotonous in the middle and ends with more action.
While this movie doesn’t show as many fantastic beasts as the first one, we still get to meet some new magical animals. Newt keeps on being the atypical main character that everyone thinks is a weirdo but can’t help but loving him. As much as he keeps on not really looking at people’s eyes when talking to them, he had to make some decisions and take sides in this movie that, in my opinion, gave him a stronger personality.
Jacob is still the romantic, funny no-maj that was basically adopted by Queenie, Tina and Newt. As much as I still liked Jacob in this movie, he was better in the first one; I guess that there was so much happening at some moments that Jacob didn’t have a lot of time to shine. The opposite happened to Queenie — she was even more entertaining than the main female character, her sister Tina. While Queenie was involved with a lot of what was happening, Tina was more focused on Credence, which made her kind of fade, in my eyes. That was maybe the reason why I didn’t dislike her in this movie as much as I did in the last one.
In this movie, we get to know more about Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), which was the most boring part. Even though my expectations for her were high, since she has the same last name as Bellatrix, one of Voldemort’s most loyal followers, I was really disappointed. For me, she wasn’t a very captivating character and every time a scene focused on her appeared, I would just kind of hope it was quick.
I was also let down by Nagini (Claudia Kim). It seemed like she was only there to be by Credence’s side and turn into a snake a couple times — nothing overwhelming. While Nagini was doing her thing, which wasn’t much, Credence was being Credence, the same oppressed kid that everyone is looking for. He is one of my favourite characters and I’m a huge fan of Ezra Miller’s acting, what makes me wish he had more scenes in the movie.
Grindelwald and Dumbledore were definitely the stars of the movie.
As much as I’m not terribly fond of Johnny Depp, he is a good actor and I can’t deny that. I felt like, since Grindelwald is so known for being manipulative and evil, I wished they showed more of him actually playing with people’s minds, not only his final actions, but Depp did a great job with what he had.
As for Dumbledore, seeing him was like a breeze of fresh air every time. If you didn’t grow up with the powerful and wise wizard of the Harry Potter series, maybe you won’t care as much for his young version that Fantastic Beasts presents, but I was happy to know more about him. His personality hasn’t changed from what we already knew. He was the same chill, loyal man who stands for what he believes.
We also get to meet some new characters, like Newt’s brother, Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) and Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), pretty good characters but nothing that would blow your mind.
The special effects were amazing, which is pretty typical of the wizarding world’s movies (with an exception of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.) The fantastic beasts and the spells felt more real than ever with a 3D experience. It feels really sad to take off the 3D glasses at the end of the movie and realize it wasn’t all real.
One thing is sure, this movie will definitely touch Harry Potter fans’ hearts with the scenes in which they show the British wizardry school. Everyone in the theatre had a big smile on their faces when the classic song started playing, as Hogwarts takes over the big screen and the excitement continued with some scenes of young Newt and young Leta at the school. In my opinion, it was just a trick to make everyone freak out about seeing the famous Harry Potter world on the big screen again — but it worked for me.
The best part of the plot was definitely closer to the end. It was a super surprising end that will make everyone ready for the next Fantastic Beasts movie. I left the theatre hearing people say, “I will have to watch some theories about this ending,” and it clearly astonished fans.
Overall, it was a good follow-up to the first movie. As much as I wish they had further developed some of the characters, it was an eye-catching movie that will warm Rowling’s universe’s fans. It is definitely worth a watch.
Watch the final trailer here.