MUGGLED Fan­tas­tic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindel­wald

Flash­backs & sub-plots make the sec­ond

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! -

IT’S ac­tion-packed, pacy and boasts some truly mag­i­cal spe­cial ef­fects.

But you may feel more bewil­dered than en­chanted by this over-stuffed sec­ond Harry Pot­ter prequel.

JK Rowl­ing zaps us with flash­backs, flash for­wards and sub­plots within sub-plots.

And she makes so many nods to her pre­vi­ous sto­ries, I wouldn’t be sur­prised if she fin­ished her script in a neck brace.

But if you think of this 1920s-set fan­tasy as The X-Men with wiz­ards, the fog should be­gin to clear.

Johnny Depp’s chilling Gellert Grindel­wald is clearly a per­ox­ide Mag­neto.

He wants the wiz­ards to step out of the shad­ows and take their right­ful place as the rulers of the non-mag­i­cal world.

Jude Law’s Al­bus Dum­ble­dore, be­low right, is a slightly hairier Pro­fes­sor X who wants the spell-cast­ers to live in har­mony with the non-mag­i­cal Mug­gles.

This sec­ond in­stal­ment in a pro­posed five-movie se­ries is mostly about di­vid­ing the mag­i­cal world into th­ese two fac­tions.

In the mid­dle is Ed­die Red­mayne’s bum­bling Newt Sca­man­der.

As his loy­al­ties lie with the mag­i­cal crea­tures liv­ing in his Tardis-like suit­case, he is deemed in­cor­rupt­ible by the pos­si­bly cor­rupt Min­istry of Magic.

Af­ter Newt turns down a chance to work with his civil ser­vant brother Th­e­seus (Cal­lum Turner), Dum­ble­dore hands him a mis­sion.

He wants him to track down Cre­dence Bare­bone (Ezra Miller), an an­gry young magic man who turns into a cloud of black smoke when­ever he gets miffed.

Grindel­wald is also af­ter Cre­dence. With him serv­ing as his ap­pren­tice, the evil wiz­ard will some­how be able to take over the world.

Now I don’t have a crys­tal ball but Cre­dence looks a bad nose-job away from Volde­mort…

Into this fa­mil­iar frame­work, Rowl­ing and di­rec­tor David Yates pour a dizzy­ing ar­ray of soapy sub-plots.

There’s a love tri­an­gle in­volv­ing Th­e­seus, Newt and their for­mer Hogwarts class­mate Leta Les­trange (Zoë Kravitz).

Leta, who is en­gaged to Th­e­seus but clearly fan­cies Newt, also has a dark fam­ily mystery to in­ves­ti­gate in­volv­ing Cre­dence and a French-African wiz­ard called Yusuf Kama (Wil­liam Nady­lam).

There’s also some will-theyor-won’t-they busi­ness with Newt and Tina Gold­stein (Kather­ine Water­ston), who is now em­ployed by the Min­istry of Magic as an Auror – a sort of mag­i­cal fed­eral agent.

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Leta knows fan­cies Newt but thinks he also fan­cies Leta. Re­ally he just fan­cies her but is too busy bum­bling to do any­thing about it. Mean­while, New York witch Quee­nie (Ali­son Su­dol) wants to marry her Mug­gle boyfriend Ja­cob (Dan Fogler). Sadly, the Min­istry doesn’t fancy a mixed­magic mar­riage. Pot­ter nuts will won­der if there’s some fan­cy­ing go­ing on with Dum­ble­dore and Grindel­wald. “We were closer than broth­ers,” ad­mits Dum­ble­dore while clutch­ing a neck­lace – a sub­tle but cheeky ref­er­ence to Rowl­ing’s rev­e­la­tion he is gay.

Thank­fully, di­rec­tor David Yates knows how to keep things mov­ing. The Harry Pot­ter vet­eran be­gins with a thrilling prison break in New York be­fore whisk­ing us to Lon­don and then Paris.

There he de­liv­ers chases, wand­fights and a trip to a freak show where Clau­dia Kim’s shapeshifter Nagini is un­der­go­ing a rep­til­ian trans­for­ma­tion which should set bells ring­ing among Pot­ter­heads.

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