Harry Potter fans worldwide have been waiting for two years in anticipation of the second movie in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. A self-proclaimed Harry Potter nerd myself, I went to see Crimes of Grindelwald the night it came out in theaters. As someone who absolutely loved Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first film in the series which came out in 2016, I had high expectations for Crimes of Grindelwald. I’d like to say it measured up, but the reality is that it just did not. This movie felt far too close to a remake of the original Harry Potter films in my opinion, with the main villain, Grindelwald, becoming increasingly similar to Voldemort as the storyline moved forward. That was the main issue I had with the movie itself: it just didn’t feel original. Although J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay and it is based on her own world, in many ways the movie resembled a well-done fanfiction, with a plotline tweaked just slightly enough to be passed off as original, and characters haphazardly thrown into the mix just for fans who wanted to see well-loved characters prior to the original series. However, the characters’ actual inclusion in this movie often felt forced.
A prime example of this was in the case of Newt Scamander, the supposed main character of Crimes of Grindelwald and undoubtedly the star of the first movie. Newt in the first Fantastic Beasts movie was an excellently written, well-rounded character who had an important and justifiable role in the storyline. However, in this second movie, the necessity of his presence was far less obvious. I questioned the need for his involvement in the defeat of Grindelwald for more than a few reasons, and those excuses that were given seemed contrived. Additionally, the inclusion of Newt’s love for the titular “fantastic beasts” seemed included only for the enjoyment of the fans and offered no real importance to the plotline, with the creatures that were included having far less importance than they did in the first movie.
On the positive side, some of the new characters included in the movie, despite their actual presence feeling a bit forced, had intriguing backstories and personalities. I’ll avoid naming any specific names in case of spoilers, but one character in particular who is also present in the main Harry Potter series has me excited for the future Fantastic Beast films especially. I hope that future films in the series are able to explore these characters’ personalities and motives a bit better than Crimes of Grindelwald did, and if that happens, they will be truly enjoyable movies that will be great additions to the
By Olivia Slack, Staff Writer