Updated: Dec 21, 2018
For years Harry Potter has played a major role in pop culture with the book series transcending from the page to the silver screen with its 8 movies that have been a massive success in the world of cinema. However, just when it seemed we had seen the last of the Wizarding World, the franchise would expand with 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film told the tale of Newt Schamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his adventure through a 1920 New York City. The movie was a hit to say the least and when it came to this Film Adventurer's opinion it is among one of the best films in the Wizarding World franchise. Needless to say I found myself curious just where this new series would go next and it looks like I will get that answer in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Grindelwald. The Crimes of Grindelwald once again sees David Yates return to this Magical World to direct the new installment. This sequel had plenty riding on it as it not only had continue the story of the first film but also be the bridge to its sibling series. The end result was a sequel that, while not possessing the same magic of its predecessor, was still an enjoyable continuation.
The Crimes of Grindelwald centers on the Newt traveling to Paris in order to find Credence (Ezra Miller) before Grindelwald(Johnny Depp) can utilize the magical novice in his schemes. There was plenty going for this story. When it came to its sense of adventure the plot was enticing as the mystery of Credence, as well as Grindelwald’s plans, kept me invested all the way through. Another aspect that I found intriguing was how character driven this plot ended up being. The expansion in the characters allowed the story to be grounded in its direction which gave a sense of substance to it. Yet this is not to say everything was perfect in this magical plot. Due to the story featuring several perspectives the plot was a bit thin in its structure to the point where certain aspects to the tale could be excessive. Yet even with its issues the plot to this sequel was still effective as it continued elements from its predecessor all the while establish intriguing points for the road ahead.
Both Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter have featured strong ensembles and this sequel was no exception. As already stated the characters played a pivotal role in the presentation as the emphasis in progressing these characters forward seemed crucial for the movie. This was evident in the direction of Newt, Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jake (Dan Fogler). Although when it came to Jake and Queenie as their progression could get lost in the thick of things, but that is not to say they did not have a role to play nor was their development nonsensical. When it came to the new characters some of them took me by surprise particularly Lita LaStrange (Zoe Kravitz) whose motivation had more meaning to it then I originally expected. Then there was the additions of Dumbledore (Jude Law) and of course Grindelwald. The characterization of Dumbledore, while there was not much of him, was effective as it established the complex details behind the iconic wizard all the while giving Jude Law a solid supporting performance. As for Grindelwald I have to say I found myself impressed with the dark wizard. Grindelwald had a subtle nuance to him that made the villain both charismatic as well as menacing, and this provided a unique performance for the likes of Johnny Depp. While some characters could get lost in the shuffle there was plenty to this cast that made them stand out and prove that there were just as magical as the rest of the Wizarding World alumni.
In the case of spectacle and other technical aspects Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was fairly sound in its delivery. The visuals were not as glamorous as past films but they did have their moments such as the practical nature in the magical creatures. Although there were times where the effects would contrast with the movie’s bright cinematography. Although I was thoroughly impressed with was the movie’s sets as each location, be it Paris’s magical community or Hogwarts, stood out in both practicality and creativity. The score by James Newton Howard was another solid soundtrack for the franchise as it featured compositions filled with venturous and magical tunes, and even expanded upon previous tracks from the 2016 movie. Rounding things out was the action which was more minimal than I anticipated, but the element was still beneficial to the movie as it kept the adventure to this sequel exciting.
There are sequels that excel from their predecessors and then there are those that can bridge a series. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the latter. The film expands upon its predecessor while establishing concepts that could benefit the films to come. Along with these implications The Crimes of Grindelwald had a decent story, strong character development and enough magic to live up to its series name. All in all Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was a sequel that was needed and one full of adventure; and that was more than enough to make this chapter an enjoyable experience.