Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review

November 20, 2018

      Harry Potter films have a way of entrapping me with visual aspects to the point where I get distracted, making me question what was the plot again? Personally, after watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, I was not expecting much out of the second prequel but despite what critics said, this movie left an interesting impression on me.

     The second release to the prequel series of Harry Potter called Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald recently came out to theaters on Friday, November 16th. Spoiler alert! If you remember where the film left off on the first movie, Grindelwald is left in prison for invading into the American magical congress. Through all the advertising teasers mostly everyone has watched, it should be obvious that–Surprise!–Grindelwald escapes. It is is one of the first things you see in the opening scene of the movie.

     Grindelwald and Newt Scamander are against one another, both in search for Credence Barebone, who was an abused adopted kid that has intense magical powers. He plays one of the most important key figures in the plot. Newt is on a mission to fight Grindelwald. To be able to defeat him, he needs Credence who has the ability to do so. Grindelwald, on the other hand believes that Credence can spawn a new age where wizards and witches will take over humans, and he has a plan that will draw him in. In the end, the decision is up to Credence.

     Instead of the dark gray New York City setting that took place in the first movie, this one takes you on an exploration through the streets of London and Paris. There are multiple new characters that are introduced, such as Newt’s older brother Theseus Scamander and Leta Lestrange, Newt’s childhood friend, who which they clearly have some history Newt would rather avoid. Most of the characters in the movie have some sort of relation to the characters in Harry Potter. They even visit Hogwarts, where young professor Albus Dumbledore at the time, teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts.

     One of the things I want to point out is how the characters’ plots were put together. Throughout the movie, I was a bit confused. The film never fully explained some of the characters’ history or their purpose for being in the story. Some of the subplots escalated only to be let down, and really go nowhere. There is a character in particular that seemed to descent. Queenie Goldstein played a key role in the first movie, helping the main characters by using her mind reading abilities and manipulation. But in the new movie, it mainly portrays her as desperate and gullible.

     For me, one of the positive things that made this movie amusing were the main characters, especially Newt and Jacob Kowalski. Newt has many characteristics that differentiate him from everyone else. From the first movie, it is self explanatory that he is incredibly intelligent and passionate when it comes to magical creatures. How the creatures act around him explains his caring nature. In a particular scene, Leta Lestrange states, “You’re too good Newt. You never met a monster you couldn’t love.” Newt is also quite awkward, occasionally stumbling on words especially when it comes to Porpentina Goldstein. In a scene he particularly describes her eyes to resemble a salamander, which makes you wonder how weird can he get? Jacob Kowalski is a common everyday muggle who accidentally got exposed to the magical world in the previous prequel. It is clear he is still pretty fazed by all the wizardry stuff that goes on. What makes him relateable is how he reacts in particular situations.

     There are some things that never change. The Bowtruckle, aka the ‘green little guy’ continues to hang around in Newt’s coat pocket throughout the film. The Niffler, who looks like a mix between a fluffy black rat and a platypus also continues make appearances. And ofcourse what is a Fantastic Beasts movie without the beasts? Which in this case, the catlike dragon shown in the movie is rather… pretty cute.

     Whether people actually liked it or not, there is no doubt that The Crimes of Grindelwald makes you dive deep into a bizarre magical world where the unthinkable occurs. Sometimes, all you need is a break from reality, and watching a unique film like this might be the solution. But if you are tired of sequels and want to leave fully satisfied, I recommend staying away from this movie, because the ending sure leaves you on a cliff hanger.

 

Photo credit:

“Fantastic Beasts 2 Takes Harry Potter Fans Back to Hogwarts.” CNET, CNET, 9 Nov. 2018, www.cnet.com/pictures/fantastic-beasts-2-takes-harry-potter-fans-back-to-hogwarts/.

 

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