Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald brings success in box office, but not much else

Olivia Choutupalli, Copy Editor

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Taking place in the universe of the “Harry Potter” series, “Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald” was highly publicized until its release on Nov. 16, to its own demise. While the movie delivered in some technical aspects, it lacked in other crucial elements.

     Much like when the first “Fantastic Beasts” film was released in 2016, millions of fans old and new flocked to theatres with wands in hand. The movie is the second of the series, set in the 1920s Wizarding World. The sequel focuses on the story of Grindelwald, a dark wizard whose goal is to put the pure-blood wizards in power and is also mentioned throughout the “Harry Potter” series.

    While the first movie was light-hearted, “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” took a darker turn. The beginning of the movie signaled this sudden shift clearly, starting with the escape of Grindelwald while en route to a high security London prison. New characters were introduced, including Albus Dumbledore from the “Harry Potter” series, who is shown to have had a complicated past with the movie’s antagonist. The film in its entirety reflected the struggles of political turmoil and the increasing divide between Grindelwald’s followers and the rest of the Wizarding World, an allegory for the rise of Adolf Hitler with the pure-blood wizards reflecting the Aryans’ sense of inborn superiority.

    While clever in theory, the sudden appearance of these new conflicts was confusing; each character had their own personal struggles, whether it was a rivalry, a love triangle or a difficult past, and they did not overlap as well as they could have. Even for viewers with previous knowledge of the Wizarding World, the plot was complex and difficult to keep up with. On top of that, the political context was slightly overbearing, taking away from the fantasy and whimsy of the Wizarding World. The plot seemed to be a device used primarily to construct the basis of the upcoming movies, and lacked the action present in the first movie.

    Though the plot consisted mainly of set up for the next three movies in the series, the actors, cinematography, special effects and music were on par with the fans’ high expectations. All new actors were casted perfectly for their roles, including Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, Jude Law as Dumbledore and Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange. The dynamics between the new and old characters were mostly well-executed and developed throughout the movie. The cinematography and music score transitioned to a darker theme but included familiar allusions to the Harry Potter series. In addition, the movie kept to its namesake and presented extravagant creatures old and new to the audience utilizing special effects.

    While “Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald” had its shortcomings in terms of storyline, the movie did not disappoint in any other aspect. While it’s no “Harry Potter,” fans of the series can still enjoy this new take on the Wizarding World as well as the rest of the series to come.