The second part in the ‘Harry Potter’ spin-off provides twists and glorious visuals, but has too much plot to truly soar. These beasts are overburdened.
Stream Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
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The Crimes of Grindelwald probably had enough plot to drive a four-hour mini-series, but even so, what we get is often absorbing and grand. The sense that this magical world is actually, well, fantastic is finally back in the series.
Most of the surface pleasures of filmic Potterdom (the chiaroscuro tones, the overqualified character actors, the superb costuming, James Newton Howard’s warmly enveloping score) have survived intact, but real magic is in short supply.
The sequel has better and at times galvanizing special effects, a darker tone and a high-stakes battle between good and evil. Best of all, its characters are more vibrantly drawn, and tangled in relationships that range from delightful to lethal.
Another strong entry in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World saga. Rowling has improved upon the first Fantastic Beasts film by fleshing out her characters in a way that’s engaging, though not everybody receives as much attention. Both Johnny Depp and Eddie Redmayne are - forgive the pun - fantastic in their perspective roles.
There’s real magic here, and nothing fake about the emotions which guide it.
Rowling’s universe just got bigger and more complex, but Yates never forgets to sprinkle stardust on top.
JK Rowling’s creative imagination is as fertile as ever, and newcomers Law and Johnny Depp impress, but the second film in the series is bogged down by franchise detail.
Telling an audience this stuff is important is one thing: making them actually feel that it is is the magical part, and Grindelwald bungles the trick.
For the serious fans who this series is meant for, the promise of at least six more hours of Fantastic Beasts action likely means a lot more thrilling beasts, barriers, and beats to explore. Everyone else may find that all the little personal bits of character business and frantic complications aren’t much of a substitute for a clear and compelling plot with a single meaningful protagonist.