The Harry Potter universe continues to expand with the arrival of the second installment of the new saga headed by JK Rowling: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. A highly anticipated feature film since it contains elements well known to fans such as Hogwarts and a certain Albus Dumbledore. But beyond the nostalgic pleasure, can this sequel hold the comparison with the wizard with the scar or even with the first chapter of the adventures of Newt Dragonneau?
The most dangerous wizard in the wizarding world escapes and intends to go to war with the Muggles. On his way, he will find Newt Dragonneau (Eddie Redmayne), mandated by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) for a secret mission. We do not tell you more, but here is the starting point of the opus Fantastic Beasts: the crimes of Grindelwald , sequel to a film which had grossed 722 million euros in the world. The goal is simple: to do better and install a new franchise that will be the subject of five films in total.
If we have to find a major difference between this second opus and its elder, it is undoubtedly the radically different atmosphere. Although we find the entire cast of the first part, to which join Jude Law, Johnny Depp or Zoë Kravitz, the humor has almost disappeared to make way for a feature film which happily flirts on the side of the thriller. And if the bestiary still shows itself as bright, the emphasis is more on a magical society in the grip of internal ideological conflicts.
Fantastic Beasts, minus the scenario
Written by JK Rowling herself, the film quickly shows flaws in what it is trying to relate. Without too much spoiler, we are witnessing a game of cat and mouse quickly set up to highlight a plot … which goes in circles.
Articulated around the sole climax of the feature film – which we will obviously be careful not to reveal – the characters will never stop reminding us of why they are there… tirelessly. And since the goal is the same for everyone, as much to say that one has the feeling that one takes us a little for idiots who still would not have understood in spite of the 368th evocations of the subject.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald therefore seems quite empty, alternating between repetitions and moments of barely conspicuous filling. The protagonists, old and new, are barely sketched out as they appear in number, appearing and disappearing as needed. Everything seems written with a single objective: to slow down the horses as much as possible in order to keep some under the elbow for the three films which will follow.
This sequel thus appears as a transitional episode of which only a quarter really brings something to the story. The most glaring example remains the one that gives its name to the film: Grindelwald. So we are not going to lie to each other, we are rather delighted to see Johnny Depp do something other than an umpteenth ersatz Jack Sparrow (or himself?), But what a pity to have made such an invisible threat!
The big bad will have only one opportunity to shine, during the best sequence of the footage, where he finally takes thickness. Unfortunately, it happens much too late to catch up with nearly 90 minutes of severe slack where he will just act of presence. We are still waiting for the justification of the title …
The enchantment still operates
If on the narrative level, the film struggles to hold the road, it has for him to register in a universe which will never cease to amaze us. Although we were afraid of an action too muddled in the first minutes, our doubts quickly fade and the staging of David Yates brings us back with a wave of the wand in this imagination that we still love to discover and browse.
As we said earlier, Norbert’s “monsters” are not lacking in visual charm and you are challenged to leave the room without wanting to ride the new kid (who will not be revealed).
And then how can you not feel anything when you return to Hogwarts, teased in the trailers? We took full eyes, here in a few scenes, the footage touches our heart. Even if paradoxically, it brings out its weaknesses, as if we were reminded of what this new saga is not. Whatever, we have the feeling of taking the full brunt of a wave of warm nostalgia and we want more. Therein lies the real magic trick of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, still succeeding in bewitching us without forcing too much.