‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ doesn’t offer much to Harry Potter universe



Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald premiered on Nov. 16.

Shannon Sullivan

The magic of “Harry Potter” returns to the big screen with the release of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the haunting sequel to the 2016 movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

The original cast reprises their roles in this sequel, set only a few months after the events of the first film. Newt Scamander, Eddie Redmayne, finds himself banned from traveling internationally, given the events prior to this film and finds himself torn between the laws of the Ministry of Magic and his loyalty to Albus Dumbledore, Jude Law. Finally choosing to travel to Paris to not only find love-interest Tina Goldstein ,Katherine Waterston, but also attempt to save young Credence Barebones played by “Perks of Being a Wallflower” star Ezra Miller, who is not only in danger of being swayed to the side of Gellert Grindelwald, Johnny Depp, but is also being threatened with death by the wizarding community.

Moviegoers are met with other familiar faces such as Jacob Kowalski, Dan Fogler, and Queenie Goldstein, Alison Sudol, though there are a few new additions to the cast such as Leta Lestrange, Zoë Kravitz, and Theseus Scamander, Callum Turner.

While the sequel provides stunning visuals colored by a dark aesthetic that allows characters and creatures to come alive on screen, “The Crimes of Grindelwald” doesn’t offer much in substance.

Most of the movie seems to bring characters to the beginning of an arc that will conclude in later films and the whole film feels like a set up in general. Aside from that, while the events of both movies are set nearly seventy years before “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone,” not much is added in lore either. Fans are shown characters who are known to have prominence later on, but nothing more is added to them.

While the characters in the movie are allowed more freedom than students in Hogwarts, the limits of that freedom and creativity are only really showcased in the beginning.

Even the beasts boasted in the title aren’t given much room to shine, and only three are consistently used throughout the film. The focus is instead brought to individual characters and the choices they face and while there isn’t always so much action, character-driven scenes are far from boring.

Redmayne perfectly plays a different kind of reluctant hero, whose unwillingness to act doesn’t come from stubbornness or apathy, but from how he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. A brilliant part of Newt’s character is how he possesses traits that are more assigned to feminine characters or sidekicks.

Most people would call him a weak protagonist because of his generally meek attitude, but Newt is strong in traits most male leads seem to lack which is why critics view him that way. He’s empathetic and carries the quiet brilliance of a character who knows their limits and doesn’t always try to be a hero, a refreshing characteristic rarely used in Hollywood leads.

J.K. Rowling may be criticized for her lack of inclusion and plot holes, but director David Yates who also directed many of the original Harry Potter films, expertly guides “The Crimes of Grindelwald” along its written path, giving the audience a beginning sequence brilliant enough to rival Harry Potter’s escape from Privet Drive in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” and while the energy isn’t maintained throughout, the visuals continue to dazzle audience members all the way through the end credits.

The buildup to more movies will hold the attention of new and longtime fans alike, as they all try to wrap their heads around new twists and theories and have a fantastic time doing it.