The second Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them movie, The Crimes of Grindelwald, takes us to Paris in 1927 at the height of the Jazz Age.
As the title suggests, the movie continues to feature the plans of Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), the greatest dark wizard of his time. While he is featured, their paths cross and we do see him plot, the movie equally revolves around the personal adventures of Newt (Eddie Redmayne), his friends and other characters, separately from what Grindelwald is getting up to.
If you haven’t seen the first Fantastic Beasts movie but are familiar with Harry Potter, you might be a tiny bit confused at some points, but not so much that you can’t follow the storyline. If you are wholly unfamiliar with the Wizarding World universe, however, the movie be more confusing. But I wouldn’t say you won’t be able to enjoy it.
Among the best moments are the featuring of a 1920s Hogwarts and a more distant past, when New Scamander himself was a student. Jude Law is doing a fine job portraying a much younger Albus Dumbledore and definitely does the character justice. Despite the controversial casting of Depp as Grindelwald, he does do a bang-up job portraying the villain.
Indeed, every actor is wonderful here, and it’s great to see the returning ones evolve through the franchise. The new additions to the cast are well-fitted to the plot. I look forward to seeing more of them in future films.
The movie ties in to the more contemporary Harry Potter era. We see the origins of some characters who have previously been mentioned and featured as well as an expansion on the world that really contributes to the scope of it. At the same time, the Fantastic Beasts movies are a setting in their own right and can be viewed separately from Harry Potter.
The visual effects are beautifully done. The beasts look awesome and there are some new ones that are absolutely amazing. Of course, we see the return of Newt’s Niffler and Bowtruckle, which became fan favorites after the first movie. There has been criticism that the movie isn’t centered on magical beasts enough, but I disagree. They are featured often and in ways that contribute to the story.
Some of the costumes are pretty spiffy, even though they are, with the exception of one or two, less than historically accurate.
The Fantastic Beasts saga isn’t finished. If the movies keep getting better the way they are, we’re in for a treat!