My face after seeing this in theaters.
I went on a movie date this week and saw the latest Fantastic Beasts installment: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
With the first movie, I enjoyed the wonder and whimsy despite some issues with not enough plot at times. It was a good popcorn fantasy that I'd watch again and a decent addition to the Harry Potter/J.K. Rowling's Wizarding movie-verse.
The sequel didn't hold up for me...Hold on tight because I'm borrowing my best friend's Goodreads review style for this.
[WARNING POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!]
Newt was charming in his quirky way (charming no less than two ladies without meaning to, and one intentionally) and the CGI magical creature shenanigans were lovely (I have serious concerns about that Kelpie early on and I want to pet and hug the Zouwu). My favorite characters/couple Jacob and Queenie got some potential development up until...well that might be going a little too far into spoiler territory. Young, hunky Dumbledore was a treat to watch (I have a thing for Jude Law) and Grindelwald's performance reminded me how skilled an actor Johnny Depp really is.
Too many extra characters that didn't have time to be properly developed and didn't have a good reason to be crammed into a story this ambitious that wanted to keep under a Lord of the Rings Extended Edition run time! There's a brother, with a childhood friend fiance with a dark secret, and the orphan kid from the last one gets a snake girlfriend and all the new Aurors violently keeping order in Europe (and this sentence is convoluted because that's how I felt watching all these new faces get thrown at me when all I wanted to do was return to my four core heroes from the first with pieces of Dumbledore and Grindelwald plus henchpeople thrown in). And all of these people were not throwaway, funny side characters, these were the main cast. Most of the people from the first movie we were supposed to love and root for were relegated to do-nothing roles or became victims of the movie's next biggest crime.
Speaking of cramming things into places they don't belong, a plot this convoluted should not be in a 2 hour movie. If you want to have a good ensemble cast, you have to pull an Avengers and keep this stuff basic but deep, or pull a Lord of the Rings and make an epic. All this movie cared about was shiny set pieces thrown haphazardly between random, out of character plot twists (which Jacob and Queenie became unfortunate victims of). While I understand a lot of history happened between the 1920s wizarding world and the 1990s wizarding world of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling has to know she has more than one movie to work with in order to show it all (I'm pretty sure she wrote the script, but if she didn't then she at least consulted and approved the final version).
Special effects/camera dizziness. On a giant theater screen, the subtle shakes in the camera during flashbacks and the super close-ups of the CGI jostling the viewer about (IN THE RAIN) were jarring. Lots of flashing parts that gave me a headache, especially in the opening.
Also, I'm still salty about Queenie...
In conclusion, I wanted to like this movie and went in expecting to have fun. Instead I ended up ranting the whole car-ride home about the above problems I had. That kind of creative energy is better used making my own stuff.
Have you watched this yet? What was your take? Did I epically miss the point or did I miss an even bigger key problem? I'd love to hear your thoughts, because I still have so many opinions.
Brie Tart writes fantasies in which she draws the mythical from the mundane. She spends the rest of her time dabbling in languages and prepping for her next adventure.