You know a lot of times, when a great movie series starts making prequels or even sequels set in the far future, those movies often tarnish the series. Star Wars is a great example. The prequel trilogy of Star Wars sucks, except for Episode 3. It’s not that they were unnecessary, it’s just that they lose the heart of the original series. Fantastic Beasts on the other hand, is a different story. So, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second installment of the prequel movie series of the Harry Potter series. This movie is set sometime after first one, and it follows the same characters we loved from the first one as well as new characters. As usual I’m going to give my general thoughts on the movie, what I liked, what I disliked, etc.
It terms of the story in this film, I found it really enjoyable. If you couldn’t tell from the title, Grindelwald is big antagonist as well as the big plot point of the movie. Johnny Depp did a great job playing this role. He made Grindelwald seem sadistic and almost had a creepier vibe than Voldemort. His big mission in this film is to look for Credence, played by Ezra Miller. Unlike in the first one, Credence actually has some character in this one. His big motivation is to find his real family. On the other side, we have Newt Scamander, Tina Goldstein, Jacob Kowalski, and Queenie Goldstein, all of whom were just as great as they were in the first one. We also had some new characters in here including Newt’s brother, Theseus Scamander. We also had Leta Lestrange, a sort of distant relative of Bellatrix Lestrange, Nagini who will be Voldemort’s pet snake in the Harry Potter series, and the one and only Albus Dumbledore. Jude Law did a terrific job playing a young Dumbledore. He still has his way of setting people on missions without specific detail. Overall, he was great.
While I really liked most of the movie, there were a couple of issues I had with it. The first is the Jacob Kowalski situation. If you remember from the end of the first film, Jacob’s mind was erased by the obliviate spell. However in this movie, he has memory back. Their explanation was that the spell erases only bad memories, and I would buy into it, if it was like this in the Harry Potter series. As we saw in Harry Potter, the obliviate spell erased all memories not just bad ones. We saw this with Professor Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets and Hermione’s parents in the Deathly Hallows. The second thing is Nagini. As we remember from Harry Potter, Nagini was the snake that hung around Voldemort in the later movies and was later discovered to be a Horcrux. In this movie, she’s a human who can turn into a snake. The problem is that they did not handle her well. She had no character development and really had no reason to be there other than being a wink and nod to Harry Potter fans. Those are the two things they should have changed in this movie.
Overall the movie was great. Although the Harry Potter is superior, it stood well on its own. The plot was good, the characters were good, and they had a very interesting plot twist at the end. They set up the next movie very well. The rating I’ll give the film is a 9/10.