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article imageReview: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ rambles onward Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Nov 16, 2018 in Entertainment
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is a bridge between the first film and the upcoming ones, though its foundation is a little shaky.
There are certain worlds in which fans don’t mind spending all of their time. The opportunity to see elements for the first time, learn things one didn’t already know or realize, and simply hang out with beloved characters is appealing in itself. However, it’s not necessarily enough to maintain their attentions over long periods of time. Thus, sophisticated stories are required to fill the gaps and tie everything together so it’s not just a conveyor belt of things to look at. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is filled with amusements, but it needs a solid narrative accompaniment.
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is back in London, caring for his magical creatures and pining for Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston). After his unsanctioned trip to America, he’s still on the outs with the Ministry with little hope for resolution. However, when Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes custody and is traced to Europe, it’s all hands on deck to recapture him and figure out his interest in a young Obscurial named Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller). As Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol) also get mixed up in the investigation, Dumbledore (Jude Law) refuses to take part; therefore, Aurors, Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) and his fiancé, Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz), must lead the charge, while Grindelwald gathers supporters for his dark cause.
This is the second installment in the five-part series, once again written by J.K. Rowling who delights (and profits) in people’s enthusiasm for her characters. However, this episode makes the series feel more like The Hobbit than Harry Potter as it doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Once viewers reach the end of the two-hour-and-14-minute picture, it becomes painfully obvious the film was little more than a set-up for the next chapter and could’ve been summed up in a much shorter time. Where everything in the first film felt fresh and essential, this one seems to be unnecessarily stretching out the narrative. Moreover, its need to remain vague in order to push the final act makes it somewhat jumbled and confusing at times.
Yet, in between all the filler, there are still wonderful characters, fascinating creatures and striking effects. Newt’s individualism is highlighted in this picture as he’s shown to have been a bit of a loner at Hogwarts, secluding himself with his magical creatures in a hidden alcove. But his thinking is also different from those around him, which is likely why Dumbledore likes him so much. The Niffler cute factor is increased exponentially by the appearance of several furry, baby thieves, while Pickett is given the opportunity to live up to his name. However, other than a beautiful water horse in Newt’s underground sanctuary, there’s really only two new creatures introduced: a large serpent with a cat’s face called a Zouwu and Matagots, which are fearsome felines with glow-in-the-dark eyes.
Depp’s chameleon abilities and love for disguises makes him a wonderful villain, while his charm makes him a great Grindelwald as he cleverly manipulates people to stand at his side in the coming global wizarding war. In the last act, he’s given the opportunity to shine via a grand speech, which is followed by a stunning display of power. But nothing negates the fact that the crux of the film is located in a handful of key scenes and the last 30 minutes of the movie, making more than two-thirds of the picture noticeably superfluous.
Director: David Yates
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston and Dan Fogler
More about Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald, Fantastic Beasts, Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny depp
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