When I walked out of The Crimes of Grindelwald, I was exhausted. The movie clocks in at 2 hours and 14 minutes, the exact runtime of the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Despite this, Crimes of Grindelwald feels much longer and bloated than it’s predecessor. This is because of the overhaul of subplots that are sprinkled throughout the film, seemingly with no real structure or reason. The first film has a main plot, 2 romances, and a single sub-plot. This film has a sort-of main plot, 4 romances, and a whopping 6 sub plots. I think this is because of JK Rowling’s screenplay. Writing a book is VERY different than writing a screenplay. The abundance of plots could work in a book, but in a movie it is confusing and jarring. I really hope Warner Bros. brings in a more experienced screenwriter to supervise JK for the next film.
While this movie was frustrating to watch as a movie fan, the Harry Potter lover inside of me was giddy. The magic used throughout the film is truly breathtaking, and the creatures are as fantastic as ever. Every detail is creative and endearing, and I give director David Yates major props. Some of the best moments in the series can be found here if you can look past its flaws. I also love these characters. Newt Scamander is just as fun to watch as he is in the first one, due to the little quirks and mannerisms that Eddie Redmayne brings to the role. Tina and Jacob are also great, but Queenie loses her charm and comes across as desperate and unreasonable. Johnny Depp is surprisingly amazing as the title character, and he makes Grindelwald a more interesting villain than Voldemort in my eyes. Jude Law as Dumbledore is… fine. He doesn’t get a lot of screen time, and the time he did have didn’t impress me much.
The thing that disappointed me most about this movie was the complete benching of Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s romance. JK Rowling said that the main reason she wanted to make this series of films was to show that romance, but all we have gotten thus far is a throwaway line from Dumbledore. I’m hoping that they are saving this for future films, but this might be all we get. Which sucks. Speaking of future films, we are getting a lot of them. JK has said that there will be 5 movies in this series. I am interested in where they will take the story from here, but they need to make sure that the screenplay is as tight as can be, or they will lose the interest of all but the most hardcore Potter fans. I didn’t hate this movie, but it is a major step down from the original.
I give The Crimes of Grindelwald a C.