Two years have passed since the adventures of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) began on the big screen and as we could expect from the second installment of the new franchise directed by David Yates, we are getting deeper and deeper into the magical world created by Rowling with a story that feels much less introductory than the first and closer to the old Harry Potter movies where the magical duels and background plots are the most striking.
Unlike the first film that starred Europe’s best-known Magizoologist, The Crimes of Grindelwald already gives us a tangible villain right out of the box, with Johnny Depp bringing to life one of the most important dark wizards in European history: Gellert Grindelwald.
Having our enemy defined, this story feels a lot, in a good way, like Order of the Phoenix, where Voldemort tries to rally his troops. The most substantial difference between Who Must Not Be Named and his predecessor in the dark arts is that the latter appears to be more cerebral and strategic than the former.
There is no doubt that Johnny Depp feels extremely comfortable when he works with eccentric characters. He has already shown it throughout his vast career, but with Grindelwald he takes us back to a time where the social conflict between wizards and Muggles is at its height and an authoritarian and aristocratic class, the one he commands, will try to settle down and take over control of both worlds unless our heroes intercede.
On the good guys side, Eddie Redmayne shows great chemistry again with Dan Fogler’s character, Jacob Kowalski, who returns as do Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein) and Alison Loren Sudol (Queenie Goldstein). Who debuts in this film is Jude Law, in charge of giving life to a young Albus Dumbledore who is unraveling several of the secrets of his past that we have been learning thanks to the books, but that the 8 Harry Potter films had not mentioned in depth. , especially the axis of his complex relationship with Grindelwald.
As we hinted at at the beginning, this film feels much closer to the original franchise than its predecessor. It will be largely due to the magical duels, or perhaps due to the narrative construction that more than an exploration of a zoological catalog confronts us again with that concept of good and evil so marked in the saga, but definitely this return to the bases suits the tape well as everything flows more naturally.
The return to Hogwarts and the appearance of Dumbledore, as well as several iconic elements of the franchise such as the Boggart or Professor McGonagall, help us to feel that magic coursing through our veins again.
There is little to say about the visuals that hasn’t been said in any other Harry Potter movie or in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The spells, special effects of the magical world, portkeys, moving statues and all that makes Rowling and Yates’ work converge again, giving us scenes that will leave us speechless.
Obviously the film has a topic to discuss, which we cannot specify for spoiler reasons, but we can say that it is about the end of the film. Much will be debated as to whether or not the final event should have been because it is a revelation that completely changes the history of the world of Harry Potter as we know it, and not only in the movies, but also with respect to the books, but everything will depend on how this element is developed in subsequent installments.
In short, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is definitely better than the first installment and almost on par with the original movies. The tape leaves the door open to exploit enormous potential with its ending and prepares us for the epic battle to come, especially considering that there are going to be five films.