Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

And you thought Mary Poppins' bag was magic.
Verdict: 
7/10 – This sequel loses some of the magic of its predecessor, but still sparkles nonetheless
Release Date: 
Friday, November 16, 2018
Written by: 

Newt and the gang return as Gellert Grindelwald seeks to divide the wizarding world forever.

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Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and the gang return for a second helping of magic and mischief, but there's not much time for fun and games with Nifflers and Bowtruckles this time around.

Instead, the team must rally together to stop dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) from dividing the wizarding world forever.

Though Grindelwald was arrested at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the sequel kicks off with a thrilling and disorientating escape from captivity, as the powerful sorcerer charges on to Paris to track down Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), who miraculously survived his destructive fate in the last instalment and is now an integral part of Grindelwald's dastardly plans.

When Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) gets wind of the looming threat, he recruits Newt to track down Credence first.

Although Newt is initially reluctant to get involved, his plans change after old friends Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol) unexpectedly drop by, and he learns that Tina (Katherine Waterston) is also in Paris searching for Credence.

She's giving Newt the cold shoulder due to her belief he's engaged to the beautiful Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), who is actually marrying the other Mr. Scamander - Newt's older brother Theseus (Callum Turner).

So when Queenie leaves to be with her sister Tina after a major falling out with Jacob, he and Newt catch a Portkey to the French capital to make things right with the ladies in their lives - but encounter even bigger problems when Grindelwald's sinister scheme begins to take flight.

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It's a joy to see these beloved characters back on screen again. The will-they-won't-they dynamic between Newt and Tina is very sweet, and seeing Newt whip out misguided chat-up lines involving salamanders is both hilarious and completely charming.

Fogler replicates the canny comic timing he displayed in the previous flick, and Miller is still eerily haunting as Credence, the tortured soul desperate to get to the bottom of his own history.

The new members of the cast also excel; questions have been raised over Depp's involvement in the project, but the actor succeeds in bringing a hypnotic affability to the part.

He is particularly impressive when delivering a powerful monologue towards the film's vicious climax.

Law shines as a young Dumbledore and steals the few scenes he's in, while actress Claudia Kim's intriguing vulnerability as Nagini - the woman to eventually become Lord Voldemort's snake - shows much promise going forward.

As expected, the movie is a feast for the eyes and Harry Potter fans will be delighted to return to Hogwarts, and also meet a legendary character we've heard of, but not seen before.

The downside is that the cast don't bounce off each other as much as we'd like because they are often separated from one another.

On top of this, the big central mystery of Credence's family lineage drags on for some time, but is wrapped up rather hastily and is somewhat disappointing.

Even more haphazard is the unveiling of Leta's background, which is pretty far-fetched and doesn't achieve the emotional crescendo J.K Rowling is hoping for.

Overall, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald doesn't have the most magical story in the Wizarding World series by a long shot, but it's entertaining nonetheless and leaves plenty of unsolved mysteries that will leave fans bubbling with anticipation for the next offering.

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