Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

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Summary: Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda. To thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
Pros:
Cast Mostly and some Characters. I don’t find everyone that interesting, or at least not enough for me to be like OH YES, I NEED MORE! But I thought everyone did great jobs in their role. The acting is really good in this movie. Top Marks!
  • Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander. This movie didn’t even really need to follow him but sure. Newt is as he was in the first. Awkward, sweet and loves his animals. In this one, he wants to travel again after getting in trouble from the events in the first film, but the Ministry wants him to be an Auror. That’s not his thing. So, he ends up being called upon by Albus Dumbledore to help him with something because Dumbledore cannot do it himself. Newt agrees and probably didn’t realize that he just might be the first person (but not the last) who Dumbledore uses to do the work to accomplish a goal. Aaaaanyways, most of the movie is Newt running around trying to find Credence while also trying to find Tina because he’s in lub and he misses her. I like Eddie Redmayne and he’s very good as Newt, very likable most of the time.
  • Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein. Tina isn’t seen for most of the first half of the movie. I didn’t like her that much in the first one and that hasn’t really changed. She’s also looking for Credence because she wants to save him from whatever Grindelwald might want of him, plus she’s trying to clear her name after the last incident that happened at the end of the first movie. She does a stupid thing and she and Newt are finally reunited. Then they’re pretty much together the rest of the movie, where he tries to explain what she saw wasn’t true and what not. Tina is still headstrong but as the movie isn’t about her, that’s all we really get. Katherine Waterston is again fine in her role.
  • Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski. Still a favorite character. So, at the end of the first movie, he loses his memory of what happened thanks to the rain from the Thunderbird. But basically, Queenie finds him and restores his memory but ya know, it’s frowned upon for witches and muggles (I DO NOT LIKE “NO-MAJ”) to be together so that whole thing is pretty much his introduction in the movie. He and Queenie arrive and he’s being all weird. Jacob is as fun supporting character. He’s the audience in how he reacts to the world and I love it. He’s good-natured and pretty much down for the ride. He does have a lot of emotional things happening in this movie, so I’m very interested to see what happens with him in the next one… *rolls eyes* Dan Fogler is funny, and he has some great emotional moments and you really feel for him.
  • Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein. Tina’s younger sister who is a powerful natural Legilimens. She fell in love with Jacob even though the wizarding laws forbid relationships with MUGGLES. So, in this movie, she’s really broken up about her feelings for him and what society doesn’t allow. That’s pretty much the bulk of her character in this movie. Her agonizing over this. *sighs* I don’t mind it being something she’s dealing with, but it didn’t have to be her entire storyline because she’s so interesting that it sucks that she’s regulated to that. BUT BUT Alison Sudol is really good as this character and she has some great emotional moments. The scene I dislike the most with her towards the end, is really good acting wise.
  • Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone. Following the events of the first movie, we see that he did not die the way they thought he did. He ran off to the circus. He now seems to have control over his Obscurus which makes him extremely powerful. We don’t get a ton of him in this movie and anytime we do, it’s mostly because he’s trying to figure out who he is and where he comes from. He is close with Nagini and they escaped the circus together. I think Credence is an interesting character, but we don’t see enough of him just yet, so I’m hoping that he gets more development in the third film. I also LOVE Ezra Miller and he’s great at playing the kind of character Credence is, kind of broken down but filled with rage over what he endured, not to mention, someone who is growing into their own man. He’s so good at that lol.
  • Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange. Leta is an interesting character, she went to school with Newt, and he was in love with her. She did something terrible that Newt took the blame for, which is why he’s an outcast in some circles. She comes from a well-known pureblood family who is known for the Dark Arts. She is engaged to Newt’s older brother Theseus and works in the Ministry as an assistant. Outside of what we learn about her from the flashback, we don’t get the chance to really know her to get any emotional attachment to her. But Zoe Kravitz is great as she always is.
  • Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander. He is Newt’s older brother and an Auror. He fought in World War I and is seen as a “War hero”, though he seems too young to be Newt’s older brother, because the actor is in fact younger than Redmayne and it shows physically. He and Newt seem to have an okay relationship, they’re just different personalities, like Theseus is a hugger lol. He spent previous years looking for Grindelwald and he’s engaged to Leta. Theseus was cool, and he seemed to not only care about duty but care about his brother because he must make some decisions that would affect both relationships. I like Callum Turner’s voice lol, but I think he makes Theseus likable because I feel like he would be one of those characters who would toe that line of likability.
  • Claudia Kim as Nagini. She is the main attraction a wizarding circus and freak show called Circus Arcanus. She is a Maledictus, who carries a blood curse that will eventually transform her into a snake permanently. She befriends Credence and becomes a confidant for him. They run away from the circus together in search of his heritage. She seems to be very wary of things in general but that’s about it. I don’t like the fact that she’s Nagini who later becomes Voldy’s snake, I mean whatever, but because of that connection, I just want to know how she met him and what made her want to follow him but not trust Grindelwald. I mean, they’re different but similar. Claudia Kim doesn’t get to do much other than look cautious and worried throughout the film.
  • Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore. Well hey there Dumbledore. He is an extremely powerful and influential wizard in the British Wizarding Community, known in the British Ministry of Magic and throughout the wider wizarding world for his academic brilliance, currently a professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He and Grindelwald grew up together and he had some kind of relationship with him over the summer and it ended badly. It’s already been told to us that Grindelwald and Dumbledore were romantic, or at least it was leading that way but ya know, it fell apart. Dumbledore is the one who brings Newt into the situation because He “cannot move against Grindelwald” for reasons we learn later. Also, the Ministry, as always, is frustrated with him because while he’s on their side, he won’t/can’t do what they want and so he ends up being forced on the sidelines even more. Jude Law was a great choice for Dumbledore. I was kind of shocked at how much I liked him in this role. He manages to have the same presence as those before him while also having swag lol.
  • Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. He is a powerful dark wizard who caused mass violence, terror and chaos. He wants to create a new Wizarding World Order about wizarding superiority. He doesn’t want to exterminate muggles (like Voldemort) but he wants to subjugate everyone who isn’t a pure wizard. They all have their place he says. He was captured by MACUSA in New York after wreaking havoc, and of course the whole thing when he pretended to be Colin Farrell’s character in the first one. By the way, he’s more powerful than Voldemort lol. Anyways, I think he kills a few people, the wizards who were transporting him and a muggle family but then he just spends the movie talking to people. He wants to “free” their minds to see things his way and he just talks a lot. While I have problems with the scene overall, my favorite scene of his is when they’re in the graveyard with the blue flames. I thought he did great there and seemed crazy while also powerful and intriguing. I can see the pull but not enough to sway me personally. I have always loved Johnny Depp and despite the mess that’s been around about him for some years, I’m glad he got to be in a mainstream movie where he does well with an interesting character. I don’t particularly like how stark his two eye colors were, maybe if the blue wasn’t so vibrant, but perhaps that was the point. But he manages to command the screen whenever he’s on it.
The Costumes. As always Colleen Atwood is great at her job. I recognize her talents lol. I miss Newt’s old blue coat but the coat he wore in this was great too! Albus also had a great look! I mean wow! Leta’s clothes… *Swoons* the costumes are great okay.
Musical Soundtrack. I can’t remember if I liked the soundtrack in the first one, but I think the soundtrack in this one was good, particularly in the emotional scenes like the entire graveyard sequence. I think this soundtrack is superior to the first one. I’ll have to listen again to verify this, but I thought it stood out quite a bit.
Use of Magic. With it being part of a magical world, the use of magic is very important, and I think it’s used in ways that keep the film moving forward. I like the creatures we saw, old and new ones, the designs on them are still great. With the blue flames in the graveyard sequence and how that was used was cool as well. Not to mention, Nagini’s whole transformation thing and how Credence used his powers. If anything, this movie does well, it’s the magic.
Cons:
The Title. WHY IS THIS STILL CALLED “FANTASTIC BEASTS”! It has nothing to do with that. Just because you sprinkle in other magical creatures and the fact that Credence is an Obscurus does not mean that this movie needs to be part of that series. Why couldn’t Fantastic Beasts just exist on its own as well as this movie? It feels so much like a forced effort.
The story is all over the place. It is. End of story.
Nothing Happens in This Movie. All the reveals come at the end of the movie. So, any questions we had from the first movie, get answered at the end. It’s not like we got them throughout the film, or at the beginning and then we now have new questions that are because of good writing, not questions like “What even is this movie?” It just feels like a movie with nothing going on until the last 20 minutes or so. That’s a problem because this movie is 2 hours and some change. I watched people talk and people go places. That’s about it. It’s so much building that it never actually gets to where the building is going towards at least not in this movie. It should be able to stand on its own even if it’s a sequel.
Queenie’s Development. Not happy with what happened with her as I loved her character in the first one but there must have been a ton cut out with her character because she just does so much that seems out of character for her. I don’t understand the choices. By time we get to the end with her big decision, I was like “huh?” Like, I get it on the surface because sure, but how did she exactly reach that decision as if it was the only way? It was a 180 and I did not expect that from her because there was NO REASON AS TO WHY!
Leta Lestrange. Her character was interesting from what we saw in this movie and I thought Zoe Kravitz was great in her minor role. I also do not like how the movie handled her overall because we do not have the chance to get invested in her emotionally. Why should we care about her? They made such a big deal and it didn’t matter. We know the name Lestrange because of Bellatrix, which is fine, but Leta was someone I wanted to know because if you’re going to introduce a new character with connection to someone we’ve known before… then explore it! Especially when we get her backstory. But… I don’t know if they decided she wasn’t important moving forward, or if they wanted something like what we’ve seen in previous HP movies or what, but she was wasted. Not over it.
Credence’s Background. I knew what it was going to be, and I was not thrilled. As a Harry Potter fan, not thrilled at all and completely unnecessary. But that’s not the problem, my problem is that they spend way too much time trying to fake Credence and the audience out by jerking us around with his heritage. It’s not that serious. There was no reason to wait till the end of the movie for us to find out who he is. If Grindelwald wants him on his side so badly, he should have just told him as soon as he got out and got some of his followers back, what’s what. It felt like a waste of my time and I wasn’t happy about the journey nor the ending. Which is shame because I find Credence a very interesting and compelling character but pfft, ruined with that reveal.
Overall, I wanted to like this movie because I love Harry Potter and the Wizarding World. But I think this one is such a disappointment that I was upset when it was over. The first one I enjoyed enough but this one I barely enjoyed. Ugh. The characters are still interesting, and the acting is good across the board. The costumes are beautiful as always and the soundtrack is beautiful. Also, of course, the magic is used very well in the film. Now, there are a lot of issues. The story is all over the place, which means nothing happens in this film because there hardly is a story! The development of certain characters is so bad that I was like UGH! WHY did they do that!? And the title is still stupid… drop the Fantastic Beasts. Jeez. Anyway, it might be worth the watch if you’ve seen the first one but if you don’t really care for them, then I wouldn’t bother.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Did you see Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald? What did you think about it? Where do you think these movies can continue to go in terms of direction? Are you a Harry Potter fan and do you think these movies are necessary or just fanfiction? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!
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