Today I am reviewing the second film in the Fantastic Beasts Series. This movie is by far worse than the prior film. It strays away from being about Newt and his beasts. Welcome to my review of the latest installment of the Harry Potter franchise.
Authored by Doc Comeau on Thursday, April 28th, 2022 at 3:30 PM EST
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald is the story of Newt and Jacob trying to find the women they love, of Credence trying to find out about his origins with the women he loves, and Grindlewald beginning his first steps toward becoming Wizard Hitler. Stories that collide in magical genocide. Newt and company must come together and try and stop Grindlewald from starting his plan to start a war with the non magical citizens of the world.
David Yates Director of the last four Harry Potter films returns to direct this film. Outside Harry Potter he is known for 2016's The Legend of Tarzan and of course the last Fantastic Beasts movie. A movie I have to admit I have never heard of and have no interest in watching, but he does manage to bring the magic of the Harry Potter films to this new movie.
Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston return as Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein. Tina is up to her normal Aura self tracking down Dark Magic and Newt goes on a journey to find and rescue her. Resulting in the two of them deepening the bond they began to grow in the first film.
Dan Folger and Alison Sudol also reprise their roles as Jacob Kowalski and Queenie Goldstein. In this film the star crossed lovers divided by Queenie's desire to marry Jacob and Jacob's fear over breaking the Wizarding law to do so. This results in Jacob joining Newt in his pursuit of Tina and Queenie stumbling to find her place in the world.
Ezra Miller returns as Credence Barebone and is joined this time by love interest Nagini portrayed by Claudia Kim. Nagini helps Credence continue his search for answers over who he truly is and why he is abandoned. Ultimately, trying to find his place in the Wizarding World
Callum Turner and Zoe Kravitz join the cast as Newt's brother Theseus and former love interest turned sister in law Leta Lestrange. Theseus is trying to reconnect with his estranged brother and Leta struggles to find herself worthy of the world. They both serve as tension points for Newt and Tina and Leta serves to further Credence's character development.
Johnny Depp returns to actually begin his portrayal of Grindelwald. Grindelwald initiates his evil plan to take control of the Wizarding World. He sets out to build a specific team of witches and wizards to aid him in this endeavor.
Jude Law also joins the cast as a younger Albus Dumbledore. Serving as character development with Grindelwald as referenced in the Harry Potter novels. While still at Hogwarts, he is teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts instead of being Headmaster.
Rotten Tomatoes Scores
The Tomatometer has this movie sitting at "36%" out of "334 Reviews" and an Audience Score of "54%" out of "10,000+ reviews." A significantly lower score than its predecessor with the Critics hating it and the audience barely considering it above average. As always the Critics Consensus can be found below.
CRITICS CONSENSUS: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has glimmers of the magic familiar to Harry Potter fans, but the story's spell isn't as strong as earlier installments.
As always I will give my rating here before getting into what I consider spoilers. I suggest skipping to the conclusion if you want to avoid spoiler unless that doesn't matter to you and you can check out the review breakdown below. I gave the Crimes of Grindelwad a 5.8 out of 10. Its barely more than an average film and fails to live up to the first film's success.
I gave the Crimes of Grindelwad a 5.8 out of 10. Its barely more than an average film and fails to live up to the first film's success. - Doc Comeau
Story and Screenplay
The story of this film was not bad, but it failed to center around Newt and his beasts and ultimately doesn't deserve the moniker of Fantastic Beasts. It could have been a good first movie on a new tale in the Wizarding World, but suffered from trying to force it to follow the first film. A choice that Critics and audiences alike seem to agree was a bad one.
This is essentially the story of Grindelwald amassing an army of wizards that believe they should rule over the world and control all the Muggles. All stories which are separate for each set of characters all lead to Grindelwald's speech and attempted genocide of those that refused to join his cause. All under the guise of protecting the world from the Manhattan Project
The film just tried to do too much, but ignored the magic that made the first movie successful. The story of Newt and his beasts. I was forced to give this movie a 5.5 out of 10. It was an average movie, but could have been better if it stuck to the same formula as the prior film or marketed itself as a separate story of the same universe.
I was forced to give this movie a 5.5 out of 10. It was an average movie, but could have been better if it stuck to the same formula as the prior film or marketed itself as a separate story of the same universe. - Doc Comeau
Performance and Dialogue
Again, this was the strongest piece of the film. The performers from the first movie return with the same energy and chemistry of the first film and the newcomers were and excellent addition to the flick. The best additions to this film were Newt's brother and fiance as it added character development for Newt and Tina and ultimately served to strengthen the bond they established in the first film.
Johnny Depp also did an excellent job as Grindelwald, but he failed to emulate what I expected from wizard Hitler and I did not buy he would attract Dumbledore, given what we know of that iconic character. Though as we will discuss more in the next film review the Chinese removed his gayness anyway. His eccentric acting style is suited for the world of Harry Potter though. He had the charisma I believe would be needed to attract people to his horrible ideas.
Jude Law killed it in this film. I completely buy him as a younger Dumbledore. He had that drive and charisma and clearly moved pieces I'm the background independent of the Ministry of magic. All key elements of the character from the books captured perfectly by the new actor. This is great because often times using a different actor can cause issues.
It is hard to give this section a good score. Even good acting in a bad movie loses some of its muster. I was forced to drop this section from an 8 out of 10 to a 6. There were too many individual stories that made the large assemble a hindrance rather than a plus despite the Excellent performances.
I was forced to drop this section from an 8 out of 10 to a 6. There were too many individual stories that made the large assemble a hindrance rather than a plus despite the Excellent performances. - Doc Comeau
The section of the film has a lower score than the previous film, because there was less focus of Fantastic Beasts in a Fantastic Beasts film. With that being said, what we did get was magnificently created and added to the film. The cuts and magic were on the same quality as the prior movie.
There was one scene that I found that stood out from the rest. At the end of the film Grindelwald gives a speech about his intentions and he uses smoke that shows images of World War 2. This turned into blue flames that turned into a dragon and tried to consume everyone that refused to join him. This sequence was better than anything found in the prior film.
Even with the same quality of cinematography the lack of focus on the beasts and the lack of taking chances with the scene transitions aside from the Kelpy to Hogwarts lake transition makes this film loose points. When a film follows another film, it must achieve and exceed the film that cane before. A feat that most sequels fail at. I was force to deduct 2 points from the last films score for this section due to failure to achieve and exceed the prior flick and give this film's Cinematography a 6 out 10.
I was force to deduct 2 points from the last films score for this section due to failure to achieve and exceed the prior flick and give this film's Cinematography a 6 out 10. - Doc Comeau
Even with all this if you enjoy Harry Potter and/or watched the last film I do recommend this film. If you aren't that is a different story. It's an average film and if you can watch it for free I was saying enjoy it, if not I would spend my money on something else.
1) IMDb.com. (2018, November 16). Fantastic beasts: The crimes of grindelwald. IMDb. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4123430/
Archived At; https://archive.ph/GRWIi
2) (n.d.). Fantastic beasts: The crimes of grindelwald. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/fantastic_beasts_the_crimes_of_grindelwald
Archived At; https://archive.ph/v7T9g
3) Redmayne, E., Waterston, K., & Fogler, D. (2018). Fantastic Beasts; TheCrimes Of Grindelwald. Warner Bros.