Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald…
In 2016 we were all transported back into the magical wizarding world that J.K. Rowling had created for us. It had been 5 years since the original franchise ended, so it was easy to see why so many people flocked to the cinema to step back into this world. Fans had very high expectations as it had enormous shoes to fill, many worried that it wouldn’t live up to its predecessor. However, fans needn’t have worried as it soon became clear it had captured the same magical wonder and enchantment that the original films had. With a host of new and some familiar characters, this film offered a new and exciting story. Not to mention the stellar cast with the likes of Academy Award Winner Eddie Redmayne and golden globe winner Johnny Depp. With Fantastic Beasts and where to find them receiving a positive review from critics and fans alike and being the eighth highest grossing film of 2016, it was no surprise that a sequel was announced, however, fans couldn’t believe it when four sequels were announced.
With the news that Fantastic Beasts will have a total of five films, fans were delighted eagerly awaiting the next installment. With a two-year break until the next film and no book detailing the plot fans eagerly awaited. It was then announced that Jude Law would be joining the cast playing a very familiar character, however, this wouldn’t be the character we were used to. A young Professor Albus Dumbledore, way before he was headmaster of Hogwarts but instead the defense against the dark arts professor. This was an exciting revelation as it allowed the audience to see a different version of the character that we all knew and loved.
The Plot… (Spoilers Ahead)
The sequel is set one year after the previous film, in 1927. It begins with Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escaping from a maximum-security prison to begin his search for Credence Barebone, who he believes is the key to killing his only equal Dumbledore. After being persuaded by Dumbledore (Jude Law), Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is also trying to locate Credence before Grindelwald, or the ministry who believe he is dangerous due to the obsurus powers he possesses. We are reunited with the supporting characters from the previous film as Tina (Katherine Waterson) is also in the race to find Credence, whereas her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) and boyfriend Jacob (Dan Fogler) are struggling with the wizarding rules regarding relationships with muggles. As we find all our characters in Paris all trying to follow the breadcrumbs of where Credence has been, as he is tries to locate his real family with Nagini, a girl who can transform herself into a snake. If anyone finds that name familiar, it is because she will go on to become Lord Voldemort’s pet snake! As we follow Newt through the streets of Paris, we meet new characters and fantastic beasts, we are also introduced to Nicolas Flamel, a famous alchemist. As the film reaches the third act it seems our characters have walked right into Grindelwald’s trap with him trying to convince Credence to join his following to achieve worldwide wizard supremacy. Sacrifices are made, and loyalties are tested before our heroes must work together to escape after some loss Newt realizes, he has no choice but to join the fight against Grindelwald. At the end of the film we find out the reason why Dumbledore and Grindelwald can not fight each other themselves, and in one of the biggest twists of the Harry Potter franchise, we learn of Credence’s true identity.
What did we think…
It’s always hard for sequels to live up to their predecessor especially when its a middle installment of a franchise, a lot of the plot is setting up the story for the following movies. The first fantastic beasts had a lot to cover, although we were all well acquainted with the magical world of these films we had many new characters to be introduced to as well as a brand new story. As most of the new characters were established in this film, it meant for the sequel we would be expecting more exploration into these characters. However, I feel as if this was lacking slightly as Newt seemed to get a bit lost within the supporting characters, also the relationships between the characters took a back seat. Rather than going more in-depth with the relationships and friendships in this movie they all seemed to move backward and there was no sense of resolution within this film, which leads me to think this will be a plotline for the next installment.
The introduction of Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore was an exciting addition to the cast, especially as it allows the audience to see a different side to Dumbledore. He still gives the impression of being very intelligent as he sets Newt on his quest to find Credence, but there is something very refreshing about Law’s take on the powerful Wizard. This movie also brings Dumbledore’s sexuality into it albeit it is very brief, but also gives some indication to Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald. Law’s performance gives Dumbledore a very charming but mysterious portrayal, with the Harry Potter movies Dumbledore always seemed to know more than he was letting on and that continues in this film. However, as a young Albus, it seems there are still a few things for him to learn, this is shown at the end of the film when he is given a task to complete. This gives the impression we will be seeing a lot more of Law in the sequels, especially knowing that at some point Dumbledore will fight Grindelwald as we already know the outcome courtesy of the Harry Potter movies. Johnny Depp also puts in a great performance as the evil wizard Grindelwald with his bleach blond hair and contact lens to drive home he is the villain. His character is brilliant and seems to easily manipulate other characters which Depp plays brilliantly, we also see just how evil he is towards the end of the film, which gives flashbacks to Lord Voldemort. Although at least Voldemort is openly evil, whereas Grindelwald is trying to tell people what they want to hear to reach his goal of wizard domination. Although all the cast put on fantastic performances with the introduction of these two significant characters it gives the characters from the original slightly less screen time, but also a lot less character development. It is Law who stands out the most and I for one hope he has a lot more screen time in the movies to come.
As for the plot, it gives the impression it is a race to see who can find Credence first, but in the end, Grindelwald barely had to do anything for Credence to come to him. The movie is exciting right from the off with the action-packed prison escape all the way to the eventful climax. With the relationships form the previous movie seemingly falling apart, you can’t help feeling sorry for Newt and Jacob who haven’t done anything wrong. There is an element of sadness at the films end with our heroes realizing the gravity of the situation and seeing they need to stand up and join in the fight. The revelation of Credence’s identity is a huge twist, however it doesn’t come from the most reliable source, so it’s still a mystery as to how accurate it is. Overall, it was a delightful movie with fun and exciting twists, what it lacked in character development it more than made up for in the wonder and magic that the fans love. They did have two massive characters to introduce in this film which makes me think that is why the other characters were not explored as much. It’s all leading up to the inevitable fight between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, which I’m sure fans can’t wait to see!
Director: David Yates; Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz. Running Time: 134 minutes, Release Date: 18th November 2018.
But what did you think? Let us know whether you agree with our review! Also, if you
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