The second entry in the “Fantastic Beasts” saga “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” was released across America this weekend.
Writer J.K. Rowling and director David Yeats return in this installment to craft a darker version of the American wizarding world than was portrayed in the first entry. The performances and world building are much more flushed out in this entry than in the previous entry. While we do meet fewer magical creatures, the ones we do meet are magnificent. In exchange for the loss of magical creatures we are greeted to a good deal more magical sight.
Of course, the concern on every fan’s mind going into this film regarded Grindlewald and Dumbeldore. Grindlewald is played by Johnny Depp and Depp brings out his iconic flair. His performance in this film was hit or miss amongst scenes where he is often the least interesting thing on screen.
However, Jude Law as Dumbledore is treated with a patience and temperament that suits the character itself. Law often receives the more patient scenes that allow our characters to breath and a result commands more respect.
Returning actors Eddie Redmayne (Newt) and Katherine Waterson (Tina) both turned in fantastic performances and played off each other very well in the scenes they had together. Newcomers to the series Zoe Kravitz (Leta Lestrange) and Callum Turner (Thesus Scemander) fall short amongst an over stuffed storyline and cast.
There are two separate themes of this film that seem to but heads and take up a split amount of screen time. The first theme is a theme of parentage and lineage in an ancient wizarding family and the second is a poem treated with an almost religious authority in the wizarding world. These two separate themes force the film to seem uneven and at times completely pointless. Fans can only hope that some of the plot threads laid down in this movie will pay off in the next installment.
Several of the films conflicts offer little to no pay off and other conflicts seemed contrived only to get me to believe in bizarre character decisions. This film seems like filler in this new series. A necessary film to fill in the lore and world building necessary for the upcoming entries but ultimately boring and inconsistent on its own.
The worst crime of this film is in its editing. It is nearly impossible for the viewer to distinguish between the wizarding world and the real world. Unless you are paying very close attention to the items people are carrying or the posters on the walls then the action scenes become muddled.
The worst effect of this editing is that it leads me to doubt the need to obliterate large numbers of people as they did in the first film. The effects of the editing introduce huge plot holes and unnecessary storylines in multiple films. I suspect that a huge portion of the film was left on the editing room floor along with the films pacing and thematic importance.
There are several delightful Easter eggs and cameos scattered throughout the film. Unfortunately, many of these moments feel more like fan service than genuine plot points.
“Fantastic Beasts” is sure to split fans and the box office will inevitably suffer as a result. Hopefully, curiosity carries viewers into the cinema to keep wizarding alive. Fans of the mystery and intrigue of the wizarding world will find alot to love but others may find themselves left wanting.
“Fantastic Beasts” is now in theaters near you.