Things are getting scarier and more intense in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald
Look at that big stone raven. Remind you of anything? If that side profile and those threateningly spread wings give you some pretty strong Nazi-heraldry vibes, then 10 points for historical-symbolism knowledge. And if you were hoping that a trip to the cinema this spring might mean a break from headlines about fascism and political demagogues, then we’re going to have to disappoint you. Bring your placards. Things are going to get fighty.
David Yates describes The Crimes Of Grindelwald as a very different movie from Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. “[It still has] some of its charm,” the director says, “but we’re exploring something deeper and darker and more intense.” Specifically, he means the rise of Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), who has graduated from secret baddie in the first film to big, proud, trying-to-convert-theworld-to-wizarding-fascism baddie in this movie. He is attempting to unite all magically powered citizens against the merely mortal, who he believes to be their inferiors, and it’s working. This picture shows a scene towards the movie’s end, when Grindelwald’s pure-blood faithful have gathered to hear him lay out, as Yates puts it, “his vision for a new world order”. Among them is the one man who can feasibly stop him, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), side by side with reinstated Auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), but
Newt has yet to decide if he trusts the wizarding authorities any more than he trusts Grindelwald, after the way they betrayed him last time.
“Newt is still an outsider,”says Yates. “In this film, he resists the call of the British Ministry to join them, staying true to form, to his own way of doing things, as the wizarding world edges closer to war. Choosing sides is very much an idea at the heart of the film.”
That idea plays into the other major story at work: the introduction of young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). He’s choosing between the cause he knows to be right, ie stopping the desecration of the non-wizarding world, and Grindelwald, the man he loved in his youth. Do not expect a happy ending to that internal conflict, or indeed a clean dispatching of Grindelwald. It takes more than a few months and a stern argument to crush a dictator. As Yates says, war is coming.