Newt Scamander returns for his second big screen adventure this time bringing along some familiar faces and a number of new revelations about the Wizarding World.
Crimes of Grindelwald picks up shortly after the events of Fantastic Beasts, Grindelwald has escaped custody and is looking to recruit for his cause mainly through manipulation and deceit. Meanwhile in London, Dumbledore (yes, he’s back) is trying to recruit Newt in the fight against Grindelwald. Fantastic Beasts was the introduction of Newt and his friends, and this film is where we really start to get into what will be the plot of the next three films. That’s not to say the film doesn’t at times get lost in its own complex narrative. Crimes of Grindelwald is more focussed on this larger narrative, but there are many different story arcs and characters that can at times become confusing. Due to their being such a vast amount of characters it would be easy to forget some of the more irrelevant ones. The second act is where things begin to get a little bit muddled but the focus of the narrative is brought back in the third act which is where the real revelations start to happen- ending on what is perhaps one of the most unexpected revelations in the Wizarding World.
Where the film continues to lack slightly in narrative though it makes up for in its improvement of the magical element. One critique that I saw a lot in relation to Fantastic Beasts was that it lacked the magic of the Harry Potter films. For me this instalment makes up for this within the first 5 minutes of the film. Without giving too much away there are spells, potions, broomsticks and beasts, and thats all before the titles. All this magic looks spellbinding on the big screen, especially in 3D, and I would argue that Crimes of Grindelwald has the best visuals of all of the Harry Potter films.
Any Harry Potter fan is sure to be surprised and delighted by Crimes of Grindelwald. There are a number of links to the Harry Potter franchise- both obvious and subtle. The main one being the inclusion of Hogwarts and Dumbledore himself. In his portrayal Jude Law manages to capture the character in his own way but there are nods back to Harris and Gambon’s performances- most noticeably in the accent. I was really impressed by Law, I just wish we could have seen more of Dumbledore. This is my feelings towards each character really, for me there wasn’t necessarily a weak performance, we just don’t get to see enough of each character. I hope that as the films continue they will begin to focus on fewer characters, allowing for more character development and less of an ensemble feel.
Despite the issues with the focus of the plot, I throughly enjoyed Crimes of Grindelwald. It truly did feel like Hogwarts was there to welcome all the Potter fans home again.