It may not surprise anyone when I say I didn’t enjoy this movie, given that is a popular opinion at this point, but it breaks my heart none the less. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a sequel to “Where to Find Them” and follows the uprising of the universes most famous dark wizard. Now, I feel it must be stated that my wife and I are huge Harry Potter fans, both of us sporting tattoos and collectibles. I am however a much bigger fan than her. I enjoyed the first installment of the series, liking the twists it put on the things I already loved without ruining itself or relying on the Harry Potter series too much. It marketed itself as completely separate except for the world itself. I respected and liked that. I went it to this movie with high hopes and they were dashed away rather quickly into it.
The movie opens with one of the most bad ass magic fights we have had since the finale of Order of the Phoenix. The stunning visuals coupled with score of John Williams are breathtaking. That is, unfortunately, the peak of the movie. Shortly after this it spirals into a cluster of confusing plots, characters that go nowhere, and references that are shoved down your throat every few minutes to distract you from how boring this movie actually is. This truly saddens me to write because I am someone that will quite regularly throw in a Harry Potter movie to relax during a rough time.
There are so many main plots, sub plots, character arcs, and everything else that it is honestly just hard to follow. At the end of it I wasn’t sure what was important, what was going on, or if it was even over. Because of this it made the big twist at the end more confusing rather than anything else and I left the theater completely unsatisfied.
The actors in this are good. Eddie Redmayne as Newt is still amazing and the best part of this movie. The movie is less focused on him than the first one however and it suffers from it. I don’t believe it needed to be focused on him completely but if they didn’t want to they needed to make the other characters just as interesting. Jude Law as Dumbeldore was great but he had barely any screen time. Johhny Depp was a nice cast for Grindelwald, but they gave him nothing to do, wasting the character and actor at the same time. Any time spent with Credence, played by Ezra Miller, brought the movie to a screeching halt and we were with him a lot.
The icing on the cake for me was the references. References were everywhere, handed to you on a silver platter, trying to distract you from what you were watching by reminding you of the good times. But it didn’t work. I was only reminded that I wasn’t watching those movies instead. I wanted this movie to succeed on its own. I didn’t want it to rely on my love for its predecessor. A few call backs would have been fine, welcome even, but it was clear it KNEW it wasn’t good. It was clear it WANTED me distracted and reminiscing.
Writing this review doesn’t make me happy. In fact it disappoints, and saddens me that I am writing it. But it is honest. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is boring, and expects to get by purely on your love of Harry Potter to make money with it’s next three movies. It is nothing more than a shameful cash-grab filler.