Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald movie poster

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

In theaters November 16, 2018


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134 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , , , , ,

As a Ravenclaw, I can only give this to you straight. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) of suffers from Middle Movie Syndrome. Hogwarts Alum and Muggles from all over will still use their preferred methods of transport, some of us will even don our House colors and attend, but I want you to know, I don’t think this is the best of what’s to come.

Look there are likely spoilers because this is so tightly wrapped around Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), but I’ll avoid the doozies.

Paris in 1927 is a magical place and their traveling sideshows are way better than ours, but the wow-wee factor can only go so far when there’s very little story to support the gorgeous visuals. Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped the American Ministry of Magic’s custody and is recruiting followers in Paris. This is bad because Grindelwald is a bit of a racist when it comes to Non-Majs (that’s non-magical people, or the less savory term, Muggles to the uninitiated). Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is sent on a mission by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to find Creedence Barebone (Ezra Miller) who survived the explosive New York incident (See Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). The Ministry of Magic is also looking for both Creedence and Grindelwald so worlds will definitely collide. Creedence is an Obscurial, hosting a very powerful, very destructive elemental parasite. Everyone wants him, for very different reasons. It takes a long time to get to this point.

Non-Maj (it just sounds nicer) Jacob the Baker (Dan Fogler) surfaces with wizard Queenie (Alison Sudol) in London. Queenie’s sister Tina (Katherine Waterson), an Auror who’s gone sour on Newt surfaces in Paris, everyone converges at the Père Lachaise Cemetery of Paris, and the fight for Creedence begins. Okay, we eventually get there and there is a lot of backstory and deep history but this is a middle movie and the only things important are the first 10 minutes and the last 15.

As with most Pottermore properties, everything is linked and nothing seems to happen because people are generally bad. There are connections upon connections, which makes the Wizarding World so very small, and that’s unfortunate. Fantastic Beasts is less a story about the creatures Newt finds and catalogs in his travels and more about a quiet milquetoast who unwillingly leads the rest of us through dark magical history whether we want to go or not. We definitely get magical creatures, like a Chinese Fireball who’s more housecat than lizard and a Kelpie and of course a Niffler (or half a dozen) but for a movie entitled Fantastic Beasts, the only beasts are the Wizards with their own personal and political agendas. Sure there’s a reveal at the end, but we kind of already figured it out at the beginning of Act 3, so just nod and sigh. I did.

When I want to write a review like this, I try to think about what it is I really want to tell you, so here it is. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a visually stunning movie with tons of greenscreen, apparitions (the teleporting, not the ghosts), and a costume shoe closet I would happily go to jail for. For those hard into Pottermore Canon, some scenes and timelines may squeak your meter as a lot of it is ret-conned. For the casual fan, you might want to brush up the original Fantastic Beasts because everyone starts to look the same after a while and it’s easy to lose track. I would take my family to this over Thanksgiving weekend because it’s two hours I don’t have to hear them bicker. I wasn’t wowed, I was underwhelmed and I look forward to what I can only hope is the spectacular final installment of what I pray is only a trilogy. I know JK Rowling is planning 5 but maybe we can get more of a Jurassic Park/Jurassic World setup.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) is rated PG-13 for people falling from the sky, people in blue flame, death by magic, Grindelwald’s creepy eye, a fantastic Fireball I want to call Fluffy.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.


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