‘Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald’ Review, A Beautiful Disaster

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald is a Harry Potter movie on crack.  

From a theatrical, storytelling, standpoint it was a hot mess. From the perspective of a Harry Potter fan, you’ll be left with a lot of questions.

However, for those that have invested time into the franchise, you’ll be at the edge of your seat the entire time for an overall satisfying ride. Whip out your phones because when the credits roll, Google will be your best friend.  

There are hardly any references to characters or situations that happened in the first movie, so we recommend that you take the time to watch Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them as a refresher.

As we continue our review, know that spoiler warnings are in effect.

The Fantastic Beasts

The fantastic beasts in Crimes of Grindelwald were arguably (and it appears most critics would agree) the best part of the movie.

They were all extremely unique, creative creatures that did a great job of grabbing and pulling you into their world. Whether that be underwater or across Paris depends on where you are in the movie. 

The biggest draw to these beasts are the mysteries behind them and what they’re capable of.

One of our favorites, the Zouwu, can travel thousands of miles a day without getting tired. Rowland describes it as an, “…elephant sized cat, [that is] five colored…”

The Love Stories of Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald

The fan-favorite couple of the first movie, Queenie and Jacob (played by Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler respectively) were quickly introduced and then quickly torn apart.  It was heartbreaking but didn’t quite have the impact the writers were probably expecting because of their minimal screen time. 

We feel like J.K. Rowling said, ‘We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s close this out and thank you, next.’

Newt Scamander, portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, and his seemingly emotionally flat love interest, Tina, played by Katherine Waterston, refers to him as ‘Mr. Scamander’ upon their first meeting. This came off cold and uncaring, which was fine. However, they had very little chemistry throughout, which may have also been due to on-screen time.

When Tina is first brought up, Queenie mentions to Newt that Tina was hurt hearing he was supposedly engaged to Leta Lestrange. It didn’t come off that way during their exchanges and even the height of Newt and Tina’s one-on-one love scene was cut short due to the entrance of Leta Lestrange.  Speaking of Leta…

Leta Lestrange, Newt and their brother love triangle.  This was explored briefly but it was a love story not well fleshed out. It is distracting at best as it arises and then leaves the viewers with so many questions.  At the beginning of the movie they introduce Newt and Leta with some obvious tension, then a scene back at Hogwarts with both of their interactions as kids. We find a few moments later that she is engaged to Newt’s brother, Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner).

After all that, she dies.

Finally, there is the love story of Credence and Nagini played by Ezra Miller and Claudia Kim. Another odd couple in the film; they get close, never kiss, have a few intimate moments,  and then Credence leaves her to be with Grindelwald because of his family issues. Done deal.

On this end, the film doesn’t allow viewers to feel the stakes involved with any of the characters, so in this aspect you’ll be left quite unsatisfied.

The Twists of Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald

(From the perspective of Credence Barebone)  “So I’m an adopted boy? No wait, I’m a Lestrange, no…actually you’re a Dumbledore.  Wait, there’s another Dumbledore? WTF.”

Then, the twist of, Leta Lestrange with a mysterious man who is not tied with the Ministry or with Grindelwald’s army.  We come to find out that he is an estranged half-brother who wishes to kill Leta’s real brother, who we all think is Credence but find out later that he is not Credence and her ‘real’ brother died when he was a baby that Leta switched with another baby because he was irritating.

That was not confusing at all…

Where Are We In Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald

We explore the wizarding world and then the no-maj world. We go back and forth without any indication of where you are. Are we in the no-maj world? Are we in the Wizarding world?

How are all these monsters out and about?  Did Grindelwald just cast a spell all over Paris for the world to see?  Did anyone see those huge blue dragons burning up a cemetery?

Then we continue to wonder. Are we in Newt’s suitcase? Are we at his house?  Are we in his basement?

Even Hogwarts doesn’t look like Hogwarts although we’ll give them that it was in an earlier timeline.

Summary

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald is a great movie for Harry Potter fans.  

I’m not gonna lie, it is pretty confusing but there are shining moments such as the dramatic speech given by Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and the charm that Eddie Redmayne brings to Newt Scamander’s character. (although lost in the shuffles of confusing story archs and weak character building) Scamander so darn likable interacting with his fantastic beasts, that it distracts you long enough to throw in a few good laughs amongst a rather dark film.

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