Is ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ a Worthy Sequel?

If you have been following my blog recently you will remember my review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last month. In short; I loved the first film in this new franchise which sheds even greater light on the Wizarding World. I loved the characters and their stories and overall it’s a fun film to watch.

I couldn’t wait to continue watching this story evolve with the sequel and yesterday I finally got the chance to see it. Hence, this review.

That leads me to the question of this post; Is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald a Worthy Sequel? Yes…and no. There are pros and cons to this story. On one side I loved it and then on the other side I’m totally disinterested. So, on that note, let me share with you the pros and cons of The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Be warned! This review will contain MAJOR spoilers. Thank you for heeding this warning.

Cons

What Happened to Tina and Queenie Goldstein?

One of the reasons why I loved Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was because of the characters. J.K Rowling is one of the greatest character writers in the world. She creates people that you care about, that you immediately fall in love with, and I love that about Ms. Rowling. Tina and Queenie Goldstein were so lovable in the first Fantastic Beasts movie.

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Tina was trying to prove herself to the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) and ended up running into the international troublemaker himself, Newt Scamander. Together they ended up on an incredible adventure that placed them deep into a conflict they had no idea was brewing; the rising disturbance of Gellert Grindelwald.

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And then there was Queenie who, despite her flirtiness, didn’t feel like a damsel in distress. Not in the slightest. She was powerful yet kind, mysterious and forthgoing, and I loved her in the film.

Both sisters felt independent, powerful, strong, and perfectly capable women without men in their lives. The Crimes of Grindelwald took that narrative two steps backward.

Both Tina and Queenie Goldstein felt like husks of their previous selves. They were both infatuated with the men in their lives; Newt Scamander and Jacob Kowalski. It felt like Tina had the same sad-lovestruck-angry-clueless expression the entire movie and she was mainly used as a vessel to further Newt’s romantic portion of the story rather than playing a legitimately interesting role.

(I will admit, I loved the super cute romantic scene with Newt and Tina in the film. He said her eyes were like a Salamander’s. How awkwardly cute is that? Ah. 😍)

And Queenie supposedly has gone “crazy” because of her love for Jacob, which makes zero sense considering where her story ended; she had visited Jacob’s bakery, pretending to be a simple No-Maj and catching Jacob’s eye. What happened in the timespan between the movies where she practically lost it? I’m so confused.

Tina and Queenie were major reasons why I loved Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them so much and they were also a major disappointment to the sequel as well.

No Action

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I wouldn’t exactly consider Harry Potter films action movies but there’s a level of enjoyment action-wise that one expects with these films. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald does not care about action whatsoever.

The opening and final act in the film are very impressive but beyond that, the action is practically nonexistent in this movie.

There’s A LOT of Dialogue

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I don’t think I’ve ever watched a sequel as information-heavy as this one. J.K Rowling used The Crimes of Grindelwald as simply a connector between the first Fantastic Beasts movie and the still-unknown third one. That’s why there were so many characters in this latest installment. It’s all to set up something rather awesome in the future for this franchise which I’m okay with but for entertainment reasons the film falls somewhat flat.

Goodbye to the Humor

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While Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a fun, adventurous that utilized the humorous moments very well The Crimes of Grindelwald is a much darker film, literally, making the funnier moments feel forced rather than natural. I, however, found myself chuckling frequently during the movie, but not towards the humor. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. 😕

These are the cons of the film. Here are the pros.

Pros

Leta Lestrange

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I loved Leta Lestrange’s involvement in the movie and honestly, I’m kind of bummed that she’s dead. Yeah, she died. I’ll get to that later.

Her story was tragic and dark, which is definitely something you would imagine considering how messed up the Lestrange family is. (Remember Bellatrix Lestrange?) My feelings toward her were conflicted. On one hand, I really liked her because she seemed like a good person and then there was another side of me that was totally freaked out after she told the story of how she accidentally killed her baby brother. Yikes.

But when she chose to defy Grindelwald and not join his cause she was killed. I was shocked. Even though she was totally weird I thought she brought an interesting storyline to the franchise. Now that she’s gone, well, it’s just kind of unfortunate.

The Brother Dynamic

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I love Newt Scamander for his unique personality and his amazing creatures. And now he has a brother. Yay! Their relationship throughout most of the film was fraught with tension due to their rocky past (you see, they were both in love with Leta Lestrange but Leta ended up being betrothed to Theseus leaving Newt totally jealous, in a Newt kind of way) but when Leta died they put their petty grievances behind them and became loving brothers once more.

To console one another, they hugged and actually got a tad bit teary. Yeah, I’m corny like that.

I can’t wait to see more from the two brothers in future films.

Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald

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When I saw that Jude Law was playing Albus Dumbledore I was like, “WHAT?!” He just seemed way too pretty for the role. I mean, look at this picture.

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And then look at this picture. Big difference, huh? I know.

And yet, Jude Law really made it work. I believed that he was Albus Dumbledore. There was a certain air of charm to him that felt like the Dumbledore I have seen since I was a child. And I really like him in the role.

He didn’t have much to do in this film but I’m very intrigued to see more of his story evolve over the next three movies.

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And then there was Gellert Grindelwald. I had heard that he was a terrible villain but I happened to think he was the perfect antagonist for the film. No, he isn’t Voldemort but I don’t want him to be. He’s intimidating in a different way. You see, unlike Voldemort who frightens people into submission with unspeakable acts Grindelwald commits just as many heinous crimes but he has a silver tongue. He whispers in individuals’ ears their greatest desires to amass a powerful army but…if you step out of line, he’ll kill you quicker than you can say, “Wait.”

No, Grindelwald isn’t Voldemort but J.K Rowling wasn’t trying to make him like the iconic antagonist and I like appreciate that. And I think Johnny Depp in the role is perfect.

The Shocking Reveal

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The entire sequel basically wrapped around Gellert Grindelwald’s disturbingly swift rise to power and discovering the identity of Credence Barebone’s lineage. The film continued to elude to the idea that he was a member of the Lestrange family but it turns out, no, he’s not a part of that family. Instead, he’s a long-lost brother of Albus Dumbledore named Aurelius Dumbledore.

*jaw drop*

What?! I didn’t see that coming. I liked the twist because Aurelius Dumbledore was never mentioned in the Harry Potter novels and it gives a certain mystique to Credence that he didn’t have before. What this entails for the third movie, only time will tell?

So, yeah, the movie had its ups and it had its downs. I would like to give Nicolas Flamel and the cool cat creatures an honorable mention because they were great in the film. I was totally surprised when Yusuf Khama survived to the end of the movie. I definitely thought he was going to perish. And I hope that the third film includes more from Nagini because she felt like she was just there in every scene with Credence but wasn’t really doing anything.

In fact, when I really think about it, Fantastic Beasts: The Crime of Grindelwald did not portray women in the best ways and I’ll share a deeper analysis on that in another post.

My Conclusion of the Film

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a good movie but it isn’t a great movie. The two hour and thirteen-minute runtime fly by like a breeze because there is so much going on, which I was thankful for. In fact, it almost felt like it needed another five minutes with it ending rather abruptly.

This film was truly designed to set up what should be a thrilling final three movies. For most, it missed the mark because no one cares that much about this story but thankfully I like the characters and that is literally the only reason why I watch these movies.

The movie was undeniably gorgeous with fascinating sets and awe-inducing wardrobes that highlight the mystique of the Wizarding World. The CGI could’ve been better but I still feel it looked better than last time.

I’ll give this 87 out of 100 and 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not perfect, not by a long shot, but it is somewhat entertaining and I’ll probably watch it again one day when it debuts on cable television.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a remarkable day.

 

4 thoughts on “Is ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ a Worthy Sequel?”

  1. Lovely review and I agree, the Goldstien sisters are charming and come into their own in the first film but were setback in “Grindelwald”. Queenie’s turn felt very sudden and I don’t think Tina was given enough screen-time to show how capable she is. (I also do love the salamander scene.)

    Overall I give the film points for creativity, beauty, and interesting characters. Because the saga was created by the same woman who created the cohesive saga of “Harry Potter”, I was expecting a tighter story and one less confusing and loose threads. Hopefully the next movie will be tighter and more impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

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