The second in what is set to be a series of five films, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is an improvement over its predecessor, and a magical addition to the Potterverse.
Set mere months after the conclusion of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, magizoologist Newt Scamander (again a brilliant Eddie Redmayne) has finished his magical beasts textbook, and is now caring for them with the help of an assistant in London.
Upon receiving a visit from a very much in love Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler), he finds out that Tina (Katherine Waterston) is currently looking for Credence (Ezra Miller) – who apparently survived the events of the first film – in Paris.
Newt also runs into his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) and his new fiancée Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), and has to work out whether or not to trust them. One person he knows he can trust, however, is the great (albeit much less grey) Albus Dumbledore (here a cunning Jude Law). But what does his old teacher have in store for him this time ’round?
Meanwhile, the dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped the clutches of the MACUSA/Ministry of Magic and is on a mission to recruit followers and rise up against Muggle-borns ‘for the greater good’. Grindelwald gets word that Credence is on the hunt for his true identity, and hopes to take advantage of his Obscurial form. The boy himself has wound up as a part of a freakshow circus, and made friends with an interesting new character by the name of Nagini (Clauda Kim)…
With a much heavier focus on action and the Fantastic Beasts themselves, The Crimes of Grindelwald far outshines the first movie in the franchise. The visual effects are stunning, with some of the Obscurial scenes and a few of the new beasts cementing themselves in your mind’s eye long after the final credits roll. This one is a must-see on the biggest screen you can find.
A few Harry Potter lore inconsistencies aside, Crimes of Grindelwald carries itself well, considering it’s the second movie based on a textbook of magical creatures. Grindelwald is not yet as menacing as He Who Must Not Be Named was in the original HP films, but given a bit more screen time he could definitely go wand-to-wand. Depp at least seems comfortable in the role.
With the final few acts introducing a host of new characters with some familiar names, we can’t wait to see where the rest of the series is headed. Will our mischief ever truly be managed?
In cinemas: November 15, 2018
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law
Directed by: David Yates