Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review

Okay first things first I have to eat my own words, I went into this film expecting to hate it. I really did not like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) and did not expect much from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. But I have just returned home from watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and I have to say I actually enjoyed it. It is a massive improvement on the previous film and I have regained a little bit of confidence in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. There have been lots of debates surrounding this film, its narrative, timeline and characters, I will mention some of these throughout as I am a huge Harry Potter fan and having been speculating for weeks. So read on for more!! WARNING SPOILERS TO FOLLOW. 
The film picks up months after the first film, the American Ministry of Magic has Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) imprisoned until he promptly escapes and heads to Paris. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) Months after the first scene is at the UK Ministry of Magic attempting to get a ban on him traveling internationally lifted. Here we meet two new characters his brother Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) and Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) both of which work at the ministry as Aurors. It is revealed that Grindelwald plans to use Credence (Ezra Miller), yep he is not dead, to kill Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) but first he must track him down and get him onside. To do this Grindelwald acts under the pretence of just wanting to help Credence find out who he is. Newt is approached by Dumbledore, who asks him to go after Grindelwald and to save Credence. Newt is hesitant at first until he discovers after a visit from Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler) that Tina (Katherine Waterston) is in Paris also. The film then picks up the pace and we are thrown into the magical side of Paris. There is a lot going on in this film so I am just going to give a quick run down of the main storylines: Credence befriends Nagini (Claudia Kim) who is at this point more human than snake, Queenie wants to marry Jacob but cannot as it's against the law because of this she ends up leaving with Grindelwald and Dumbledore cannot face Grindelwald because of a blood pact they made when they were younger. The most interesting story of all though is that of Leta, it is unclear throughout what side she is really on, in the end she gives her life in an attempt to save Newt and the others. But the film centres around her regret; killing her baby brother when she was younger because she switched him with  another child whilst on the Titanic (Yes there has been some debate on this and timeline wise it does workout to be the Titanic). Overall this film's narrative is much more coherent than the first and lays much needed foundations for the next three instalments.

This film introduces a lot of new characters which is necessary however there was maybe to many new characters. One of these new characters was my faviourte of the film: Leta, she is interesting and complex - probably the most complex character J.K.Rowling has introduced us to in recent years. She radiates power and I think its a real shame she died in this film because she could have been a great ally to either side and I think she is actually a huge part of why I enjoyed this film. We also got a short appearance from Nicholas Flamel (Brohtis Jodorwsky) which was great, he was funny and clearly very old and we get a little glimpse of the Philosopher's Stone which for die hard fans like me was awesome!! Due to the influx of new supporting characters the 'main four' Newt, Tina, Queenie and Jacob get less screen time which is probably why this film works better. However it would have made more sense to sideline Jacob because he is barely in the film. I also would have liked the film to have kept Leta alive and for her to join Grindelwald instead of Queenie. But I guess they started the films with these four characters so I guess they want to continue with them. It is a shame that they aren't exactly strong leads which means they will have to be backed up all the time by lots of additional characters. Just a quick note on Depp and Law, both are great in this film. Depps Grindelwald radiates power in a different way to Voldemort, and by the end of the film I was rooting for the bad guys. It was also great to see actors Jamie Campbell Bower and Toby Regbo back to play younger versions of Grindelwald and Dumbledore - I would love to see both actors again throughout the series.

So why did I like this film more than the first one? Well the narrative was better, Grindelwald is intriguing with a clear plan. The two characters that annoyed me most in the first film, Credence and Tina are written better this time and I actually enjoyed watching them. There are some great visuals in this film such as Hogwarts, the final battle, the very last scene with Credence and Grindelwald and the French Ministry of Magic is stunning. Newt is slightly less strange. And most importantly there are less Fantastic beasts, there are still a few too many but I am hoping that there are less and less animals as the series progresses. I liked the zoo under Newts house much more than the suitcase version. I also liked the links to history such as the scenes from World War Two - I have always thought it would be interesting to see wizards fight in the 'Muggle' wars, there is also a scene that includes the Titanic which was incredibly powerful. What would I like to see in the next one? More magic, less beasts, a Potter, a Black or a Gaunt. And in the end I cannot wait for the great showdown between Grindelwald and Dumbledore (I just hope it is as epic as I imagine and that they don't ruin it by changing canon).

Okay so as I said above the has been a lot of anger, controversy etc surrounding this film. I have to admit there are still some areas that I am not convinced by. McGonagall (Fiona Glascott) makes an appearance in this film as a Hogwarts professor but I was under the impression that she was quite a few years younger than Dumbledore and thus would not be teaching at Hogwarts yet. But in my mind we do not hear her first name so this McGonagall could be a relative of the one in the Harry Potter films. Nagini being a woman is also something I wasn't sure on but actually I liked her character and she worked well within the film. My only issue is Nagini being a woman means that Neville basically behead a human. There has also been questions regarding Johnny Depp I think he is the right actor for the role and I am looking forward to seeing more of him.

Overall this film is a huge improvement on the first one and I really enjoyed it. The final scene with Grindelwald, people joining him and then the fire fight is at Harry Potter standard and has me convinced that there could be some hope in the Fantastic Beasts franchise going forward. The costumes and sets are perfect as usual. After seeing this film I do see potential but it is a shame that the first film was so awful because this film proves that there is a story worth telling it just could have done with more forethinking. But I do recommend you seeing this film. It is actually good and I really enjoyed it. Lets hope it leads to even better films.

I would very much like to open conversation on this, so please leave a message, comment on facebook and share.

I have so much more to say on this film so if you would like to know more let me know and I may write another post xx

Thank you for reading xxx

Comments

  1. Line for line, this is very similar to my opinion on The Crimes of Grindelwald. My only minor disagreements being that I quite enjoyed the tragic aspect to Queenie, felt Leta's backstory to be a tad rushed and that I LOVED the idea of a fema!e human Nagini and a backstory to be explored.

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  2. Hi Melly thank you for reading! I am glad you enjoyed the review. I agree that moving forward it will be great to explore Nagini's back story - hopefully we will find out how she became Voldemorts ally x

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  3. It's not the Titanic, the timeline doesn't match up: the Titanic sank in 1912; the sinking in which Corvus died was in 1901. Sorry!

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  4. Thank you NotACat for reading, I didn't know the dates had been confirmed - can you send me a link to the official text that says that Corvus died in 1901 please?

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  5. I don't know about any "official text" but I found it in the Screenplay: all the scenes from that flashback are headed up as happening in 1901. I don't have a link to that, sorry

    Also there's an image of Credence Barebones' Adoption Certificate which is dated 1904, which adds evidence that the ship could not possibly have been the Titanic. Here: https://twitter.com/UHP/status/1063241797328084993

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