The wizarding world returns with the sequel to the spinoff based off a textbook for the 8-film long series based on a 7-book long best-selling franchise. Is there still life in this universe? Or is it time to leave Hogwarts and the magic behind for good?

Our returning guide into this world is Eddie Redmayne’s forever charming Newt Scamander who is on the hunt for Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald. There is a mix of new and returning characters such as Ezra Miller’s Credence, Katharine Waterson’s Tina Goldstein and Jude Law’s younger Dumbledore. Matched with fantastic and ingenious visual effects this a-list cast gives life to this ever-expanding world. 

However, this film has a flaw, and it is the writing. JK Rowling wrote the script for this film and it is a messy, convoluted and overstuffed story that has a few too many plot-twists which, according to many “Potterheads”, contradicts the lore. There is a good story in the film somewhere, or more accurately, there are about three good stories piled into it. The problem is there are too many characters with their own stories that the film keeps harshly cutting to. As a result, you only see one character move forward with their story, then not see them again for another half an hour, meaning it is difficult to keep track of the various plots that play out. Furthermore, the ending sets up the next film and encourages a far more interesting storyline, which, in my opinion, is the story Rowling wanted to write. Unfortunately, she had to write this messy story to get the characters to the correct place.

However, the film does have positives in the form of the effects and acting. Whilst there are not as many Beasts as the title implies, the visuals are still top notch, especially any scene involving France’s version of Diagon Alley. Plus, thankfully, the magic battles have evolved beyond the wizards pointing at each other as hard as they can and turned into wizards being more creative as well as being a visual treat. Furthermore, the majority of the cast play a beautifully nuanced version of witches and wizards, although I am not quite sold yet on Jude Law’s Dumbledore.[embedyt][/embedyt]

I confess, I am not a huge Harry Potter fan, I have read all the books and seen all the films, but it’s universe has not captured me as much as others. Despite this, I have enjoyed the majority of the franchise, including the first Fantastic Beasts, however this film was a disappointment for me. This film, ultimately, is a set up for the next one, and whilst it introduces interesting plot lines, it takes way too long to get there and wastes too many opportunities. For example, I am not normally a fan of obligatory love interests, however a character is introduced and is perfect for Newt but is completely side-lined for another character who has no chemistry with our lead at all.

Fundamentally, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald acts like a crime epic but fails to realise that’s not its purpose. Despite strong acting, spot on visuals and a beloved established universe, Fantastic Beasts unfortunately is not the chosen one and will more likely be the film that must not be named. 

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Categories: Arts Theatre

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