J.K. Rowling’s most recent addition to the Harry Potter universe struggles to develop its characters but still manages to expand the magical lore of a world that many fans love so dearly.
While “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” attempts to tell new stories with new characters, the film still seems to be overshadowed by the gigantic financial and cultural triumph of the Harry Potter book series and franchise.
“The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the sequel to 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” tells the story of magizoologist (a magic zoologist) Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he traverses Paris in search for a powerful young wizard, Credence (Ezra Miller).
At the same time, the dark wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is gaining power and more followers as he also begins his search for Credence.
On Newt’s adventure, he catches up with familiar faces from the last “Fantastic Beasts” movie, such as Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol), Jacob (Dan Fogler), and Grindelwald.
The film features a few new magical beasts, some interesting new spells, and a very intriguing development of the lore of Harry Potter.
While it is fun to see the magical world of Harry Potter expanded in this way, “The Crimes of Grindelwald” suffers from a convoluted plot and a crowded cast of characters.
There are so many new and old characters that the film doesn’t really get the chance to fully develop any them.
It is not a good sign that the most exciting character to see on screen is Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), a character that was already developed in the Harry Potter series.
The film’s use of familiar characters like Dumbledore demonstrates how much this film is coasting on the success of the Harry Potter series.
“The Crimes of Grindelwald” fails to provide new characters to get excited about.
This film also makes clear that Newt Scamander is not a strong enough character to build an entire franchise around.
It seems that the filmmakers are using him as a matter of convenience to give audiences a look at characters that pique their interests, such as Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
It seems that the filmmakers would rather spend time showcasing familiar faces than allow time to actually develop their main character.
There’s also the issue with Grindelwald himself. It is not entirely clear what exactly Grindelwald is striving for.
In this way, the character falls victim of being evil for the sake of being evil, which makes for some really shallow character development. In turn, this diminishes the overall effectiveness of the film.
Also, it was not obvious what specific crimes the title was referring to.
It is important to note that there are a number of fun sequences in the film, especially between Newt and Dumbledore, but these moments only give a hint of what could have been.
The film offers a lot of potential for what could be a more compelling and character-driven third installment.
Even though “The Crimes of Grindelwald” has definite problems, the film is sure to entertain any longtime Harry Potter fan solely due to its existence in the magical world of Harry Potter.