It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
Basically everything wrong with the movie can be summed up with its title. Fantastic Beasts. The Crimes of Grindelwald. These two things have nothing to do with each other.
In my opinion the faults of this movie date back to the first film, where we had the compelling story of a young wizard named David Attenborough whose animals escaped in New York and he had to find them. Great. Sold. Unfortunately they had to make the film much worse by adding in unnecessary and convoluted subplots about a repressed boy named Credence who could change into a dangerous obscuris. Or something. The filmmakers obviously didn't learn from their mistakes.
Anyway, the second movie stars off pretty decent. Eddie Redmayne and Dan Fogler give two great performances, I really bought into their chemistry even more than in the first one. Jude Law is also great as always, though underused. The comedy scenes are also pretty consistently good, adding some much needed levity to this total mess. The visual effects looked great except for the times they looked awful, especially in the Hogwarts scenes which was where the film took a nose dive, never to recover.
The rest of the (far too numerous) supporting cast range from average to terrible. When Johnny Depp was revealed as Grindelwald in the first movie it was clear to me that he was totally miscast, and my suspicions were quickly confirmed. Colin Farrell was way better, you hacks. A lot of characters are introduced and have nothing to do, so just stand around waiting for an arc in future instalments.
What is this movie about? I couldn't tell you. It's not really about Newt Scamander. It's kind of about Grindelwald, but not completely. The plot is incomprehensible, and there are numerous exposition dumps so dense and laughable I wanted to burst out laughing, and did several times much to the chagrin of my friends. There's also way too much unnecessary fan service. I won't go in to details, I'll let you be offended by it.
There's two or three movies going on, and they all have different tones. One is a Fantastic Beasts movie, and it's funny and emotional, one is a dark fantasy movie about Grindelwald, and it's awful. They're all B plots, and for all the stuff in the screen, very little appears to be really happening. Why is Credence a character?? His story was lacklustre in the first one and is even worse here. Add to that an awful climax, and this movie is easily the worst Wizard movie. I don't know why David Yates is still attached to direct future instalments as in my opinion he peaked with Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Overall, if you're invested in the wizarding world go see it, you'll probably get a kick out of it. If not, give it a miss. No idea why it's called the Crimes of Grindelwald, because he doesn't really commit many crimes, nor are there enough fantastic beasts in the movie. Honestly it's more like a 4/10 but I feel bad giving a HP movie a negative rating.
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