Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Release Year: 2018
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Zoë Kravitz, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner, Derek Riddell
The wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes captivity and starts luring Credence (Ezra Miller), the only on powerful enough to defeat the greatest wizard alive, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), into his net. The magical ministries of several countries want him dead, but Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) believe that he can still be saved if only they can get to him first.
Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2016) was much greater than one might have feared; it successfully expanded the Harry Potter universe (known as the Wizarding World) with a new main character, a different age, and setting, and plenty of ingenious connections to the original series. Written by J.K. Rowling it goes without saying that it feels like a naturally extension of Harry Potter very much standing on its own two feet thanks to Rowling’s great talent for writing engaging characters and great plots. As the title suggests, the main villain (this series’ Voldemort, if you will) is explored further after only a short glimpse at the end of the first film, and several narrative strands are picked up, including Newt and Tina, Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Credence’s search for his real family and identity. The production design is gorgeous as ever and this time around much of the film takes place in Paris (!). The film is very much a second entry, and the story does not stand as well on its own as the first one. Some might accuse it of being more involved with world building than telling a story (I disagree) but who can really complain when it is world building of this caliber. Inventive, engaging, surprising, with moments of great charm and humour, this is nonetheless a darker film, a consequence of the rise of Grindelwald, a rise which interestingly enough echoes the rise of fascism in Europe at the time. Depp (Sweeney Todd, 2007) and Law (Spy, 2015) emerge as excellent casting choices and although Newt Scamander will remain the main character of the series, the shared history of Grindelwald and Dumbledore foreshadows a duel which is bound to be epic. This certainly bodes very well for future installments. Highly recommended!
Gellert Grindelwald wields the Elder Wand which plays a major part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Picture Copyright: Warner Bros.