“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”, the tenth installment in the Harry Potter “Wizarding World” franchise and sequel to 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts” film, opens this week to what appears to be mixed reviews. While those who have seen the film praise the special effects, entertainment value and acting, many reviewers also have much to criticize. While it’s difficult to argue with the film’s major criticisms, it’s also hard not to love this new installment as a fan of the series.
In the follow up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) sets out on yet another important mission and adventure at the request of Hogwarts Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). Crossing paths once again with Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) - an Auror at the Magical Congress of the US, Tina’s sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) - a No-Maj (non magical person), among others, Newt must use his knowledge of magical creatures to battle a fast-growing evil.
As someone who read the Harry Potter books growing up and watched all the movie adaptations, I was very excited to see a spinoff series in “Fantastic Beasts.” The first installment in 2006 brought as much nostalgia, magic and entertainment as one could have asked for, and this new sequel brings even more of the same as it expands further into the “Fantastic Beasts” storyline, adds fresh content to the franchise and connects back to the beloved Harry Potter world even more than the first film.
One of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen about this film is the convolution of the plot. Further examining the misdeeds of the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), the movie adds multiple side stories and adds so many new characters to the point where it more or less makes your head spin. However, if you can manage to keep up with all the twists, turns, supporting characters and stories, it does make for a thrilling film.
When the idea of a spin off series first arose, the hope was to make it a trilogy. Now that the films are mostly well received and showing positive sales numbers, screenwriter (and author of the HP books) J. K. Rowling has confirmed that the series will be made up of five films. Despite any narrative shortcomings or cluttering of the new film, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” gave me goosebumps throughout and is no doubt a great watch for Harry Potter fans, and I’m excited to see where the series goes from here.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is rated PG-13 for some sequences of fantasy action. Running time is 2 hours and 14 minutes.