I am an avid Harry Potter fan, thus, I was very excited when J.K. Rowling decided to expand the wizarding universe and write the Fantastic Beasts movies. I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them three times in theaters. I was obsessed. However, my infatuation with the films was inevitable as Eddie Redmayne is my favorite actor and celebrity to ever exist. I might even own a life-size cardboard cutout of Newt Scamander. Whoops. This past weekend I went to see the second movie in the series, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Unfortunately, I was not impressed.
First of all, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! Duh. My first complaint about the film was that there was not enough Eddie Redmayne! Ha! Although this is just a personal qualm I may have with the film, I truly believe they did not include enough of the Newt Scamander storyline. The whole premise of this series is about the beasts and the wild creatures that inhabit the wizarding world, however, this movie seemed to just stick them in out of necessity and not because the creatures actually progressed the plot. So, Newt’s storyline often seemed irrelevant or lackluster, often getting lost in the complex narrative.
That brings me to my next complaint. There were just too many characters! It felt like Avengers Infinity War where they just needed every single character to make a cameo and not actually have any development. I understand that this movie is meant to set up the next three, but I still felt like it was unnecessary to introduce so many new characters in this movie. For example, Nagini had no real effect on the plot, nor did the audience witness any character development from her. I guess her purpose in this movie was just to stand near Credence the whole time? I don’t know!
My final and biggest grievance with this film is way J.K. backtracked on so many plot points. First of all, Credence is just alive? Did he not explode in an emotional and extravagant scene that had us all on the edge of our seats in the last movie? Credence’s ability to come back together and then somehow travel to Paris still baffles me, but I hope this will be explained in an upcoming movie. Also, remember when the Ministry of Magic cast an Obliviate spell over the city of New York and we all cried when Jacob couldn’t remember anything? Well, now he tells us that he can remember? This was a major twist plot development at the end of the last movie that was very heart-wrenching. But then it was just turned over with a very weak explanation. So, either J.K. Rowling has no real plan for how her movies will play out, or she is adding major emotional plot developments without having to actually write around the consequences of having them.
Although the movie had many problems, in my opinion, it was a nice touch that they added many flashbacks scenes of the characters so that we could see them in Hogwarts. This brought a more nostalgic feeling to the movie. However, it then made me realize that I would rather be watching Harry Potter and his friends run around school than watch Eddie Redmayne fight Johnny Depp. Sad!
In the end, I feel like Fantastic Beasts should have been its own standalone movie where we could just enjoy the baby Nifflers and the beloved Eddie Redmayne and had the Grindelwald storyline in a completely different movie series.
Although this film is confusing and somewhat frustrating, I am still a die-hard Harry Potter fan and am excited to see what is to come!