Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Words William J Connolly
The wait is finally over as the second installment of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world arrives with an all-star cast and a noticeably darker tale. In an evermore murky and divided world where Grindelwald plans to raise an army of pure-blood wizards to rule, former Hogwarts student Newt Scamander takes an unexpected trip to Paris in search of possible love with Tina Goldstein, and to stop Grindelwald taking greater hold. But in true Rowling style, not everything goes to plan and our cute and clumsy leading man and his evergrowing number of counterparts end up forced to decide which side they’re really on, via a series of twists and turns.
While the first installment in the new Potter spin-off franchise focused on the introduction of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his suitcase of fantastic beasts, The Crimes of Grindelwald moves forward with even more exciting new creatures and faces. Johnny Depp gives a sinister turn as Grindelwald, while Jude Law captures the charm and heartache of a young Dumbledore who is unable to confront his great love (who just so happens to be the darkest wizard in the world). Elsewhere, Claudia Kim gives a truly transformative performance as Nagini, giving Voldemort’s future pet snake some intriguing backstory. Then there is Ezra Miller’s intense portrayal of Credence Barebone – a tortured soul easily manipulated in his sharp-focussed mission to find out his true parentage.
With incredible set pieces, plenty of magnificent magic, and some truly epic action sequences, The Crimes of Grindelwald is a visual feast more grand than any you’d find in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. But what it offers in spellbinding special effects, it lacks in plot. Don’t get us wrong, there are moments that we didn’t see coming. But getting to those final moments feels sluggish at times, slowly rearranging a large roster of characters and their motives in place for future instalments. There are enjoyable moments here for any fan of the Wizarding World, but overall it travels at the pace of a Bluebottle broomstick rather than the speed and excitement of a Firebolt.