The first “Fantastic Beasts” was a somewhat prequel to the “Harry Potter” franchise, written by JK Rowling, and directed by David Yates. I liked the first movie for its goofy fun and charming performances from Eddie Redmayne and Dan Fogler; although I had trouble figuring out the story with its convoluted wizardry dialogue.
The sequel, “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” offers the fresh acting and magic tone of the original, but it ends up being a boring marathon of episodes, crammed together in one plot. In fact, there are so many subplots, that we end up stop caring the about the main plot.
As the sequel begins, the evil Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes from New York to Paris. Then, Newt Scamander (Redmayne), punished with a travel ban, meets the young Dumbledore (Jude Law), who asks him to find Credence (Ezra Miller), whom the villain is after. At the same time, the young lad is struggling to learn about his past.
Newt also reunites with Jacob (Fogler), whose memories didn’t really get erased in the first movie, because the potion he was under only erases the bad ones, and he’s had good ones, especially his beautiful love Queenie (Alison Sudol). They plan to marry, but Jacob knows she could get in trouble, being she’s a witch and he’s a human.
Anyway, Newt reunites with Jacob to find Queenie’s sister and his other good friend Tina (Katherine Waterson), who’s also in Paris.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” offers some amazing special effects and fine performances from the likes of Redmayne, Fogler, Law, and Depp. Redmayne still has his goofy charms; Fogler keeps up the good work as the comic relief character; Law is charming as the young Dumbledore; and Depp looks and sounds great as Grindelwald, especially with his platinum blonde hair.
Most of the special effects look amazing, while some look cheesy. The best come from Newt’s creature friends and levitating objects, while the cheesiest come from objects splicing together.
But the biggest problem with “The Crimes of Grindelwald” is its story construction. We get so many stories about love, truth, and regret, that we practically stop caring about Grindelwald’s side. I was left in a tizzy with all this confusion. One thing leads to another, and another thing leads to others. It’s too much for me to process.
I admire the “Harry Potter” franchise for its imagination and characters, but this is one of my least favorite entries.