‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’

“What was that?!” is the reaction you can expect from Harry Potter worshippers after “The Crimes of Grindelwald” was released. J.K. Rowling’s second installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, despite being a considerable box office success, set the Fantastic Beasts franchise into a downward spiral of creatively sterile sequels. But what exactly went wrong?

“The Crimes of Grindelwald” picks back up on the escapades of the magical zoologist Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), who’s been chosen to take on the You-Know-Who of the century, Gellert Grindelwald himself (played by Johnny Depp doused in flour). However, you can immediately tell something isn’t right. The magically revamped New York is replaced with London and Paris, both of which are imagined as generic 99 cent postcards. Newt is meant to be the star of the show, but he is practically being shuffled off the stage by an overload of unnecessary characters whose only relationship with the plot are degrees of mysterious pasts and romantic entanglements, none of which are suitable compensations for their lack of personality.

However, what turns out to be the most frustrating aspect of the movie is its convoluted storyline, which is impossible to distinguish from the subplots going on in the backdrop. There are plenty of wand-waving, fantastic beasts, and magical battles thrown at us, but there’s hardly a sense of tension, adventure or any real spark as you’re watching the movie, just an urge to close the screen and read a book.  

So if you’re thinking of watching this movie, it might be better to settle for the trustworthy Harry Potter films, or even this movie’s predecessor, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, as “The Crimes of Grindelwald” is definitely a miss.

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