(Warning: possible spoilers)
When J.K. Rowling announced an expansion to the beloved world of Harry Potter, she introduced new characters to fall in love with and old characters to get to know on a deeper level. In the first installment of this new series, we met Newt Scamander played by Eddie Redmayne, who the story follows as he finds the fantastic beasts in the title of the film. Along the way, fans befriended the “no-maj” Jacob Kowalski, and American witches Queenie and Tina Goldstein.
Newt travels across the world to find new creatures to log in his journal, he’s tasked with finding Credence, played by Ezra Miller, another character new to the magical universe. Asking him to fulfill this task is none other than Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, a fan favorite from the original Harry Potter series. Fans will remember Gellert Grindelwald from the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and also from the Harry Potter books. The ambiguity of Grindelwald and his plans left for a surprise ending and an exciting cliffhanger.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald leaves room for social commentary on the world’s politics. Newt Scamander’s charming philosophy of not seeking power but asking “is a thing right?” is a small plot point in the movie. Newt is forced to pick a side, while his Hufflepuff nature would like to ignore war and focus on his delightful magical creatures. To fan’s excitement, Newt chooses the side of good and opposes Grindelwald’s vision of pure-blooded wizards ruling over non-magic folk.
Though whimsical, the movie starts to miss the mark in some of its basic structure.
We remember characters from the first movie of this series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but even some of the seemingly most important characters are not developed. The plot of the first movie was centered around Credence, who is still a main character but does not receive nearly enough screen time in the second installment.
Some characters, such as Nicholas Flamel and Leta Lestrange, were introduced but not given enough attention. This created underlying plots, which made it difficult to follow unless the watcher was well-versed in their Harry Potter knowledge.
While the middle of the movie seemed to drag on, it seemed to gain momentum in the end, setting the stage for the third film in the series, set to come out in 2020.
Though the characters were not developed to their full potential, there were many great characters introduced that create a historical background for the Harry Potter franchise. The effects were immersive and kept the movie interesting.
Despite some of the slower moments and negative reviews, this movie is a must-see for any Harry Potter fan. The film gives interesting insight into the expanding universe we fell in love with as kids, reminding us what it was like to enter the world of Harry Potter for the first time. As J.K. Rowling famously said, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
By: Emy Giddings and Jess Fernandez