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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald marks the second installment of the second franchise in J.K. Rowling's larger Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them largely succeeded in carrying on the magic of the Harry Potter franchise, but does the sequel keep things going? Eric Eisenberg wrote the official review for CinemaBlend where he gave the film three and out of five stars. Eric feels that, while there's certainly fun to be had in the new film, viewers who aren't steeped in J.K. Rowling's increasingly dense mythology may find themselves a little lost. According to Eric...
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald feels like a movie for the fans -- and at this stage in the game it's hard to really fault it for that. With the exception of select characters who don't get the focus they need, it's a big, often fun dive into lore and history of the Wizarding World that feels like just the beginning for a larger adventure. Outsiders looking in are going to have trouble with it, and it's really a "study up, or get out of the way" situation at this point.
To a large extent, it's understandable that the new film might "play to its base" so to speak. The entire new franchise is based on ideas that were only briefly dealt with in the main Harry Potter franchise of books and movies. If you cared about who Grindelwald even was before the first Fantastic Beasts movie, then this entire series is pretty much for you.
If, however, you don't quite remember all the various important wizarding family names, and how they connect to each other, then even simple conversations between characters could be a little perplexing this time around.
One of those people who might feel a little behind was our own Managing Director Sean O'Connell. He thought the movie was visually stunning but admitted that he's not even sure exactly what happened in the movie. He felt like the larger story didn't really go anywhere over the course of the film, largely due to significant script problems.
I'm not 100% sure what happens in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but it all looked good while doing it. For real, the movie spares no expense in terms of special effects and creature design. The Wizarding World is alive! It's just not "well," because there are major story beats that happen in this movie that had no impact because the script fumbled them. I learned nothing about Grindelwald, and less about Newt or Credence, who's clearly being set up to be an important piece... in what story, I have no idea. This franchise should be improving, but I'm not sure Crimes of Grindelwald took a step forward.
But if Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is really a movie for "the fans" then how does it work for somebody who is one? If you are one of those hardcore Wizarding World fans, like our own Video Team Lead Hannah Saulic, then you can probably remain fairly confident that you'll still enjoy Crimes of Grindelwald, she certainly did, though, even for her, it was maybe a more difficult endeavor than she had anticipated. According to Hannah...
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a mess, but if you're a Wizarding World fan like me it's still very fun...just nowhere near as much fun as you might be hoping. There's MAJOR pacing and character problems throughout, but I'm a sucker for a good cliffhanger and the ending definitely delivers on that front.
You won't get spoilers from us here, (you will here) but that ending is certainly going to get people talking. The movie even started its own Protect the Secrets hashtag once the first preview audiences got to see the film, revealing that there were secrets to be had, and those same fans of Harry Potter, whether they love the movie or not, will likely be talking about the end of this movie until the next one comes out.
CinemaBlend video producer Gabe Kovacs ultimately felt that The Crimes of Grindelwald weren't actually enough to warrant a movie of their own, as the franchise increasingly feels like its stretching too little material into too much movie.
J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World continues to be one of cinema's most intriguing, and her creativity within it remains unparalleled. Unfortunately, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald feels like part of a movie stretched into one, and by the end, very little has developed beyond the events of the first film. Perhaps the third time will be the charm.
It has to be said that after two movies, it feels like the story this franchise is telling has only moved forward in small steps. It certainly makes one wonder what's in store for us considering there are supposed to be three more of these films on the way.
While I'd love to be the one to break up this parade of mediocrity with an opinion that's stronger in one direction or the other, I just can't. My own feelings exiting the second Fantastic Beasts movie were pretty much the same as the way I felt leaving the first one. I enjoyed most of it. It feels like there's some real potential here, and two movies in, I'm still waiting for it to be realized.
I walked out of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them entertained enough and interested to see what would happen when this new story really got going. I walked out of Fantastic Beasts 2 entertained enough... and still waiting for the story to actually get going.
If you love the world that J.K. Rowling has created then it seems you'll likely find enough to enjoy about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. One simply wonders if you'll find much else or if anybody that isn't at least slightly obsessive about the material will find it entertaining at all. The world is just as magical as ever. The story, however, could use a little magic of its own.