by REAGAN MOTSINGER
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Nov. 2018) - I saw Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on its opening night, so of course I was excited, and this film lived up to the hype.
In the second installment in the five-piece Fantastic Beasts series in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, viewers further explored the 1920s. After his adventures in New York in the first film, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is banned from international travel. However, his former teacher Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) requests Newt’s help in combating Grindelwald’s (Johnny Depp) efforts to rule non-magical people by searching for Credence (Ezra Miller), the supposed key to Grindelwald’s cause.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film. The costumes were incredible, ranging from Newt’s trademark blue coat to the circus performers’ outfits. The action sequences and special effects on Newt’s magical creatures were very visually pleasing, and I was also impressed with Zoe Kravitz’s performance as Leta Lestrange; I grew to love the character throughout the course of the film, though, I didn’t know much about her initially as she was such a crucial part of the plot.
It was also very fun to see the film’s connections to the first Fantastic Beasts as well as the original Harry Potter series. I was so excited to see the return of the niffler, my favorite magical creature, and to meet the baby ones! The film also took us back to Hogwarts during Newt’s years there through a flashback sequence, and, of course, this film introduces Gellert Grindelwald, Nicholas Flamel, and the Sorcerer’s Stone long before Harry Potter would learn about them. Additionally, we got to expand our knowledge of magical government yet again as the French Ministry of Magic came into play.
However, the film was not flawless. Some of the new characters, such as Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) and some of Grindelwald’s higher-ranked followers, were introduced rather abruptly, and even the ones we were familiar with arrived suddenly. For example, Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler) showed up very unexpectedly at Newt’s; this was relative to the plot, but it also made that section of the film feel somewhat rushed and choppy. Similarly, the transition between locations was confusing as well. My third and final negative note was on Grindelwald’s method of summoning his followers--sending floating, transparent black curtains through the skies of Paris to call them. It just seemed strange and, frankly, a bit far-fetched, even for the magical world.
Though the film was not perfect, its weaknesses paled in comparison to its strengths. The Crimes of Grindelwald was thoroughly entertaining with its magical action, intriguing new characters and an ending shrouded in mystery after a series of infuriating plot twists. I, for one, will eagerly await the third film’s new surprises.