Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the newest movie in JK Rowling’s wizarding world and I’m not going to even try explaining the plot of this movie. It is again directed by David Yates and stars Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp and more.
This movie has huge problems with the script. Most of the other Harry Potter movies have had Steve Kloves as screenwriter so there was someone who actually has experience with film writing adapt the novels. JK Rowling does these movies alone and you can tell. The fact that this movie is so convoluted, has so many plot lines and is overstuffed with characters makes it seem like she was writing a book and wasn’t willing to cut anything out. Because she didn’t want to cut anything out, the movie has way too much going on and doesn’t really flesh out any of the storylines. Some moments also feel a little confusing because of this and the movie doesn’t really have a fully realised plot.
Moreover, the fact that we didn’t see more of Grindelwald and Dumbledore frustrated me. Jude Law as Dumbledore was my favourite part of the movie. I bought into him as a young Dumbledore right from his first scene. I cannot wait to see the character play a bigger part in the next few Fantastic Beasts movies.
Now let’s talk about Johnny Depp. I thought the character of Grindelwald had this weird and slightly frightening vibe to him. Unfortunately, the movie had too much to do and we don’t really get to see him until the final act. He has a great monologue towards the end and I really hope he has a bigger role in the next movie.
Grindelwald also has this entertaining action scene at the start of the movie. The rest of the action is also pretty great and the visual effects are solid. In the last movie, the creatures were fascinating to me and they did show a few of them in the first act. However, we don’t get a lot of them and I’m genuinely confused as to why this franchise is called Fantastic Beasts at this point. Despite this, David Yates did a good job with the visuals.
But he has to leave this franchise. He’s stayed on for too long and even though he did a great job with the last few Harry Potter movies, this prequel series has started to feel a little bland. David Yates also hasn’t done a lot outside this franchise and I think a change in director could make the Fantastic Beasts movies feel a lot more fresh and maybe we could see Yates do some other projects and challenge himself as a filmmaker. Right now, the franchise is a little stale.
Speaking of stale, the characters in this movie. Newt Scamander is not an interesting character at all for me. Nothing about him stands out and Redmayne doesn’t add anything to the role. He’s normally great but his character is poorly written and hard to get attached to. Tina doesn’t really interest me either. At least in the last movie she had some character work but she’s really reduced to Newt’s love interest in this. One of my favourite parts of the last movie was the relationship between Jacob and Queenie. This movie separates them for a majority of it and ruined the characters to an extent. Jacob still has a couple laughs but Queenie’s ‘development’ felt forced and didn’t make sense for the character.
A ton of new characters are introduced like Kama, Leta Lestrange and Newt’s brother Theseus. I did not feel anything for these characters and one scene is just a massive flashback with backstories that came off as really stupid to me.
A lot of this movie also revolves around Credence’s heritage. I honestly don’t care. Ezra Miller is terribly cast in this role and the character is nothing but mopey and frustrating to watch. This movie relied too much on this arc and JK Rowling should have made more of an effort to make this plot point engaging.
The reveal might be satisfying for some hardcore Potterheads? I’m not sure. I love the movies but I’m not an extremely hardcore fan. I did recognise some easter eggs and references like Nagini. Honestly, this felt like forced fan service to me.
Overall, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is an extremely disappointing and cluttered film. It is full of bland characters and boring arcs. I hate to say this but I’m going to give this movie a D+.