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‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ review: Magically thrilling for Potterheads

J.K. Rowling’s second installment of the Wizarding World’s Fantastic Beasts is packed with magical concepts only fans would comprehend.

The Crimes of Gridelwald begins in 1927, at the American Ministry of Magic, where the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has been held captive for six months since the events at the end of the first Fantastic Beasts movie. After escaping prison, he plans on building followers and promoting a world where wizards are no longer hidden from Muggles. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to help on capturing Gridelwald through looking for Credence who is part of a grand plan—for some long and complicated reason. Newt was joined by his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) who works in the Ministry of Magic, along with his fiancée, Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz). 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 world.

The film is entertaining but has too much plot to soar on. Yes, it provides us twists and glorious visuals but the focus on the beasts itself is overburdened. The film concentrates more on back stories giving fans a glimpse of the past. But if this story is something novel, it should not have left behind those creatures we all love from the first installment.

It appears that this movie is for fans and fans alone. Fantastic Beasts 2 is so dense with Harry Potter references and Easter Eggs. The film hops through other moments in time, building back stories to help us get to know characters better, but also adds a vast and sometimes confusing amount of padding to the main story. It uses the Hogwarts universe that we already know and love, younger versions of the old characters, and so in some ways has a more first-part look before Harry himself even existed. It hints us also of a mysterious origin myth to build up curiosity and excitement for the upcoming installments in the years to come. It’s a bit messy for those who aren’t fans of Harry Potter because there are a lot of magical concepts that might have been better understood if the film itself focuses on the story of Fantastic Beasts. For fans, on the other hand, it kicks us up as it magically transports us to Hogwarts, adding more revelation for back stories and character developments. J.K. Rowling does an amazing job in expanding the Harry Potter stories in a beautiful and creative fashion.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is magically thrilling and breathtaking. It has stunning visuals with plenty of character revelations, cameos and references that will surely delight Harry Potter fans. Plus, Johnny Depp is instantly captivating as the eponymous villain next to Ralph Fiennes Voldemort. It’s a definite must-watch for fans!


4 out of 5 stars

Directed by David Yates. Produced by J. K. Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram. Starring Johnny Depp, Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, and Callum Turner. Runtime 133 minutes

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