Fantastic Beasts 2 Wasn’t that Fantastic

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second film in the Fantastic Beasts series, came out the week before Thanksgiving, exciting Potterheads. (Photo used by permission of Warner Bros).

Harry Potter fans seem to be slightly disappointed with the second Fantastic Beasts movie, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It released the week before Thanksgiving and most Potterheads seem to have mixed feelings.

For anyone who doesn’t know, The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second movie in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series which takes place before the events of the Harry Potter series. At the end of the last movie, Newt Scamander helped the American Wizard Congress capture the criminal Grindelwald. Now Grindelwald has escaped and sets about gathering his followers to create a world where purebloods rule over non-magical beings. To stop him, Albus Dumbledore enlists the help of Newt to go to Paris and prevent his plans from coming to fruition.

Not gonna lie, this movie has some definite problems but overall I enjoyed it. It’s not terrible but it’s not groundbreaking either. I wouldn’t recommend anyone who hasn’t read the books or watched the Harry Potter films watch this movie because it has a lot of elements in it that.

I was excited to be immersed in the Harry Potter world again and see all the wonderful characters. I fell in love with Newt in the last Fantastic Beasts movies because he had a lot of potential to be a great protagonist. I was also excited, like many other fans, to see a young Dumbledore played by Jude Law. I had high expectations for this movie which I should have known would only lead to disappointment.

The rest of this will include major spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie, then you might want to go see it first.

All the problems I found with the film stems around the fact that they tried to put in too much worldbuilding. Those problems didn’t make it a bad movie per se, but it did make it kind of confusing to watch. The pacing of the film wasn’t very good at times and there were a lot of plot holes which also contributed to my confusion.

It was somewhat difficult to keep track of the dozens of storylines they had in there. Along with the main plot of going to Paris to stop Grindelwald and find Credence, there was also the romances that seemed underdeveloped and rushed. There were also some family dramas that didn’t seem to fit with the canonical events of the Harry Potter series.

My biggest problem with it and the problem that I see a lot of other people have is with the pacing of the film. There would be an unnatural shift from a really slow informational scene to an action scene; it made the action scenes feel unprompted and the informational scenes feel like unimportant to the plot. Some of the scenes felt really disjointed from the rest of the film. For instance, the flashbacks to Newt and Leta’s school days was out of place in the context of what was going on.

As a fan, I feel a little disappointed, to be honest. I think that because Harry Potter is such an iconic part of our pop culture, people had high expectations for this movie. That just leads to disappointment when the movie tries to deliver on building off the last movie, put in references to the original books, and make the movie its own individual thing.

There’s also the possibility that the reason so many Harry Potter fans are iffy on the series is that it’s so much different than the Harry Potter series. The original Harry Potter books and movies were meant for younger audiences and were easy to digest but JK Rowling has gone in a different direction for the Fantastic Beasts series. Taking a different direction isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it might turn off people who are fans of the original series.

I would say that it was a decent movie overall. The costumes and creatures were incredibly well done and the cast had some pretty good actors. But the weird pacing and multiple storylines made the plot difficult to comprehend. Not only did the events seem out of place but they conflicted with the Harry Potter canon. Their references only the most dedicated Potterheads would understand makes it hard for a general audience to get into the film and their failure to deliver on fans’ expectations disappoints their intended audience.

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