Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

I have wondered what Harry Potter movies must be like for those who are uninitiated into the world, either through the previous films or through the books. After seeing this film, I now think I have some idea. Yes, I saw the first Fantastic Beasts film, but it didn’t exactly draw my attention or encourage me to engage with the characters and plot threads enough to lead into this film. So at many points throughout the film, I didn’t understand what was going on.

Who was this Creedence guy, and why was I supposed to care about him or his lineage? Why was I supposed to care about the Lestrange woman and her lineage? Why is Newt supposed to be a good choice to hunt down Grindelwald? Whats with the blonde lady?

I can’t quite pinpoint the right adjective to describe my thoughts about this movie. Stupid isn’t quite right. Something along the lines of “full of itself” but not that heavy. Its more like they really want you to take whats going on seriously. They really, really want you to, but without being convincing about it. Is there a word for that?

Newt is the main character of this movie once again, which sees him going to Paris to find this kid who is important somehow. Newt is sort of an interesting character, even though its obvious the actor his doing all he can to make him seem awkward. He has a couple friends who show up from the last movie, and his brother is here (and actually really looks like his brother), and the love interest from last movie. I was never really sure on everyone’s motivations, but needless to say they did a bunch of stuff around Paris.

The best parts of this movie were the parts that took place at Hogwarts. I thought that Jude Law was an inspired choice for young Dumbledore, and I quite enjoyed him in that role. But everything else was kinda… I dunno, dreary? Befuddled? Maybe just uninteresting.

And while I liked Dumbledore in the film, I really disliked Grindelwald as the titular villain. All I know from Grindelwald comes from the backstory of the Deathly Hallows book. The impression that I got was that he was to be this really charismatic rogue, with some ambitious and misguided beliefs, that needed to be brought into check. But Johnny Depp’s character is not charismatic at all. He just has a silly haircut and makes a lot of speeches and sneers. Part of the problem is the fact that he always just seems like Johnny Depp, and the actual character of Grindelwald isn’t able to rise above that star recognition and exist as his own character. Big fail there.

And that self-important ending where a bunch of people “go to the dark side”. Ugh. It feels like they have not earned the weight they are going for here. I also wonder who these movies are for. I guess grown up Potter fans, cause they certainly aren’t for kids. They are far too bleak, even involving some baby deaths. I know they are planning more, but I don’t care what happens from this point on.

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