REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is a magically entertaining sequel


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The sequel excites and entices Harry Potter fans.

Corrections: 11/24/18 at 8:17 am. Graf three, line eight: “Creedence” to Credence”

A costume-clad audience awaits in hushed anticipation for the new installment to the Harry Potter Franchise. The crowd silences as the familiar tune of “Hedwig’s Theme” fills the theater. After a two-year wait, the second film in the Fantastic Beasts series satisfies viewers’ anticipation.

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” was released  Friday, Nov. 16. Based off J.K. Rowling’s 2001 book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the movie is directed by David Yates, who directed several previous Harry Potter films, and “The Crimes of Grindelwald” maintains the same richly-detailed style the franchise is known for.

The second film in the series is noticeably darker than the first. Set in the 1920s, “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” continues several months after the previous 2016 film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” left off. Johnny Depp plays Gellert Grindelwald, an evil wizard who believes that wizards should rule the world and dominate over No-Majs (non-wizards). After escaping from prison, he heads to Paris to search for Credence Barebones (Ezra Miller), who he hopes to use as a weapon. Eddie Redmayne reappears as the lovable magizoologist Newt Scamander who, along with auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Paterson), is also trying to find Credence to try and save him from Grindelwald.

Though an engaging film, “The Crimes of Grindelwald” may not appeal to viewers not already fans of the franchise. Many of the enjoyable scenes in the movie require prior knowledge of the Harry Potter Universe. The movie introduces the background stories of some previously-known and loved characters and continues with the plot line introduced in the previous film.

One such backstory is that of Dumbledore. Jude Law appears as young Albus Dumbledore and viewers can enjoy a feeling of nostalgia as the characters travel through the familiar corridors of Hogwarts. The poorly developed backstory of Voldemort’s serpent companion, Nagini, is finally shown through Claudia Kim, a woman with a blood curse that turns her into a snake. The brooding Leta Lestrange, played by Zoë Kravitz, steals the show with her tragic backstory and romantic tension with the lovable Newt Scamander. The backstories enrich the existing Harry Potter universe and help to expand fan imagination, but they may leave the audience wanting more.

Although an entertaining movie, the film fails to provide a complete story. The movie seems to end out of nowhere and leaves viewers with more questions than answers. The cliffhanger ending makes a third Fantastic Beasts movie necessary.

While “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” may require knowledge of prior films, one can still enjoy the movie without it. With a series of thrilling action scenes, entrancing magical beasts and unique characters, the film is a must-see.