'Crimes of Grindelwald' movie review: Fantastic, flawed

'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' brings back Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a 'magizoologist' after his adventures in the first film, 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'. Credit: Twitter/FantasticBeasts

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler
Rating: 3.5/5

The latest instalment of the J K Rowling-verse is here and the excitement among ‘Potterheads’ (fans of the Harry Potter series) is evident (from packed premiere screenings to elaborate fan theories on social media)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald brings back Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a 'magizoologist', after his adventures in the previous film, 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.'

The Crimes of Grindelwald smoothly picks up where its predecessor ended. We see Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp, majestic in some parts and unconvincing in others) in a tightly guarded prison of The Magical Congress of the United States of America. It is followed by an exceptional escape sequence that sets the tone for the rest of the film – dark, engaging and chock-full of impressive special effects.

Other memorable characters from the first film return, like Queenie, Jacob and Tina (Katherine Waterston) -- Newt’s romantic interest. But we do not have any time to think about them. It's because The Crimes of Grindelwald is focussed on Credence played by Ezra Miller (yes! he is alive) and his choice between right and wrong. Add to this another storyline about Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz) and her stepbrother (the only sequence that slightly drags the narrative) and you are left connecting the dots.

We are also introduced to a much younger Albus Dumbledore (played by the classy and charismatic Jude Law), who shares a complicated relationship with Grindelwald. He is again, like in the Harry Potter series, assigning mysterious and dangerous duties to his students.

You are left asking for more of Dumbledore. But what we get are longer flashbacks, backstories and characters that we had only heard about in the past Rowling works.

Even with so many parallel storylines and events, the story does not progress much in The Crimes of Grindelwald. What it does, though, is set the stage for the future instalments and leave loose ends that need a conclusion.

Director David Yates and his team have paid great attention to detail (like a special contact lenses technician for Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald). Keep an eye out for the adorable fantastic beast ‘Zouwu’ and Grindelwald’s call to his followers (a unique version of the 'dark mark'). The cinematography is great and it's made the entire experience a wholesome one.

For fans of Rowling's stories, The Crimes of Grindelwald is an exciting movie with numerous things to commit to memory. A no miss as it is a curtain raiser for the other films to come ahead (three, according to the reports). For others, it might come across as a lot of story and not much story progress. Still, it is worth a watch with the impressive special effects. You will probably leave the theatre with the hope that future instalments will answer the questions left by this film and a tinge of nostalgia with all the Harry Potter connections.

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'Crimes of Grindelwald' movie review: Fantastic, flawed

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