Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Reviews
Overall, I am so happy with how this movie turned out. I may need to see it again to know definitively (and I most certainly will), but I actually think I liked it more than the first one. I enjoyed it from start to finish and it had me captivated at every second. It ends with a few twists that beg the question of what happens next, and I certainly can't wait to find out.
A decent chunk of the movie is dedicated to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) messing around with a variety of enchanting magical creatures and it is in these moments that the movie shines. These creatures showcase the best of J. K. Rowling´┐ 1/2(TM)s imagination and will be the parts of the movie that audiences enjoy most. However, none of these moments have much of anything to do with Grindelwald or any sort of plot, so they serve no purpose beyond showing how good Newt is with magical creatures. As far as the overall story is concerned, they´┐ 1/2(TM)re actually a detriment to the film which needed every minute of its 134 minute runtime if it wanted to make the plot work.
I don´┐ 1/2(TM)t say that with any degree of certainty because it´┐ 1/2(TM)s quite possible that no amount of run time would have allowed them to save this befuddling mess. Someone needs to explain to J.K. Rowling that large movie casts just don´┐ 1/2(TM)t work the same way that they do in books. The silver screen simply doesn´┐ 1/2(TM)t allow for time to adequately develop eleven characters, each with their own plot.
Don´┐ 1/2(TM)t get me wrong, the actors are fantastic, but the characters they play don´┐ 1/2(TM)t make a lot of sense. To give an example, there´┐ 1/2(TM)s a scene where Newt sees his brother Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) shown up by another wizard. Newt´┐ 1/2(TM)s reaction to this is glee, but I don´┐ 1/2(TM)t know why. The brothers are shown as having different opinions, but they seem to be on okay terms and it´┐ 1/2(TM)s very clear that Theseus loves his brother. Why is Newt reacting as I´┐ 1/2(TM)d expect a character to react when their bully gets shown up?
This theme continues throughout the movie. Characters are horrifically underdeveloped and the problem is that the entire story relies on who the characters are. It makes for a tale that´┐ 1/2(TM)s hard to follow and that no one really cares about by the end. At least, that was the case in my viewing group.
If they´┐ 1/2(TM)d trimmed this thing down, cut out a good third of the character´┐ 1/2(TM)s and focused on a slightly simpler version of the plot, then this could have been a serviceable film. As it stands, it´┐ 1/2(TM)s a mess, with each plot element given only the most bare bones attention needed for me to be able to say that it´┐ 1/2(TM)s got a semblance of cohesion. Don´┐ 1/2(TM)t ask me to summarize it, though. That would take a good half-hour and you´┐ 1/2(TM)d probably still be lost.
On a slightly lesser note, I´┐ 1/2(TM)m deeply amused how poorly this movie paints aurors. Aren´┐ 1/2(TM)t they supposed to be powerful wizards who are chosen for their skills? Maybe the events of this movie made them reevaluate the criteria for joining, because the ones we see here are as competent as Storm Troopers.