‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is a smash hit

The second installment the Fantastic Beasts chronicles, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” hit theaters November 16. 2018 much to the excitement of avid wizarding world fans.

It is no secret that this movie has been long anticipated since the first movie in the series, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” was released nearly two years ago on November 18, 2016. Harry Potter fans have been following this series that will eventually spawn five movies, as it serves as a kind of prequel to the Harry Potter franchise.

The movie is set in 1928 and follows main characters Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Tina and Queenie Goldstein, (Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol) and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) who were all central characters in the original Fantastic Beasts movie. The sequel also introduced new characters that are central in the Harry Potter world. In this movie we met a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and a young Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

The storyline follows Newt as he returns to his home country of England after his trip to America in the first movie. Here he finds out that Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) who was revealed to be an obscurial and presumed dead at the end of the last film, has survived. He has traveled to Paris to find his birth family. Grindelwald who is the main villain of the movie wishes to find Credence and bring him to his cause, which is to establish dominion of pureblood witches and wizards over all other magical and non-magical beings in the world.

Much of the movie is spent catching up with the characters from the last movie and introducing new characters that will be integral to the rest of the series. What really stands out in this film versus the last film is the visuals and the beautiful colors in the scenes. There is a lot more actual magic in this movie versus the first movie. This movie features some crazy magical creatures which is a core theme of the series and one part that I truly enjoy about this series of movies.

Although there are some new and impressive magical creatures they seem to take a backseat to the plot and the plot was sometimes muddled, a bit chaotic, and slightly confusing. There are clear holes in the plot that will hopefully be filled in with the following movies in the series.

The visuals of the movie were stunning and I did enjoy getting more backstory on the original characters from the first movie. The new characters that were introduced got less screen time and I feel like many of them were very two-dimensional characters and I hope in future movies they are developed more and given more depth.

For the second installment in a five movie franchise, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” felt like a foundation that can be built upon in future movies but not a stand alone story like the first movie. Potterheads will love the movie because of the magical whimsy and historical context of the Harry Potter storyline. With the surprise twist at the end, all fans of the wizarding world will anxiously await the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise.