Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald is somewhere in between overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time.
It opened up old wounds without intending to cure it–or at least, not in that movie yet.
J.K. Rowling has a habit of stretching out secrets, only to barely answer it in the end. She also has a habit of deceiving people into believing one thing and then suddenly throw them off for shock value. Most parts of the film felt exactly that; a cliffhanger.
The second installment to the five-part saga forgot to tell a story because it was so focused on the grand scheme of things… and they’re probably saving that for the fifth movie. While Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald felt magical and nostalgic for die-hard Potterheads, it was just a mere bridge to the next part. Honestly, this would have been easier to bear if it was a TV series where we don’t have to wait a year to find out what happens next.
In summary, Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald happened months after the Dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America). Grindelwald eventually escapes custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
Nonetheless, the movie was magical and full of fantastic beasts. But the story felt scattered and fast-paced. Still, you would find people at the edge of their seats, knowing that there were much more secrets to be uncovered. Some would even find the subplots more interesting than the actual story itself.
One of which was Leta Lestrange’s dark past.
We have first seen Leta Lestrange’s character as nothing but a picture in Newt Scamander’s belongings in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. It was hinted that there’s a possible romantic story-gone-wrong between Leta and Newt when Queenie says, “she’s a taker, you need a giver.”
This time, we get a few answers about who Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz) really is. One of the most convoluting characters in this movie, Leta Lestrange’s dark backstory is compelling. And yet, you can’t help but root for her complex character–even if she picked Newt’s brother over him.
She’s the right mix of angst and kindness, that you kind of get why Newt was so enamored by her. There’s also a flashback scene in the movie where young Newt and Leta were students at Hogwarts. They share the same love towards magical creatures, but personality-wise, they were complete opposites. Newt is the heroic, shy, and awkward introvert while Leta was a trouble-making spitfire, who isn’t afraid to speak up. The chemistry between the two is undeniable, it makes you wonder what could have gone wrong?
As a Potterhead, seeing the Hogwarts castle in the big screen again after nearly a decade felt nostalgic. And also seeing young Dumbledore in action, teaching the students Defence Against The Dark Arts was rather exciting too. (Thank you, Jude Law.)
But the complexity starts as they delve into Boggarts, a shape-shifting non-being that takes the form of one’s fears. While Newt’s was an office desk, Leta’s was a mysterious white cloth, floating above their heads. It later makes sense in the movie, when it connects to Credence Barebone’s search of his true identity.
All in all, most of the major characters in the first movie were put to the side while the new characters lacked the backstory to make you root for them.
Though it’s clear that they have a bigger role in the next three movies in the five-part saga, this movie can’t stand on its own as the Harry Potter series could.
The film features an ensemble cast led by Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Carmen Ejogo, Poppy Corby-Tuech, with Jude Law and Johnny Depp.
Directed by David Yates, Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald is now showing in cinemas.