Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald combines aesthetic visuals with the familiar surroundings of magical battles between good and evil. Set in 1927, the movie depicts the story of an inhibited former Hufflepuff, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a surprisingly simple character who steers clear of routine and offices, sent by the headmaster of Hogwarts to find Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), an orphan in search for his origins.

The first sequence exhilarates illusions and promises as it showcases the emergence of a new villain: wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), the evil mastermind fighting for the freedom of wizards in a world where they are unknown. The beginning holds a lot of potential; the escape of Grindelwald from prison is fascinating due to the outstanding visual effects in combat. Unfortunately, like many sequels, it disappoints as the film projects two hours of continuous fight and movement, without adding any substance to the storyline.

In comparison to the Harry Potter series, Fantastic beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald only mimics a beloved community of magicians, but one that presents characters with no actual complexity. Newt  and his love interest, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), make no heartfelt impact on the audience. Everything is so fast-paced, full of action and explosions that the main substance of JK Rowling’s creations  lack a wonderful and deep-reaching portrayal of the characters.

However, the visual effects make every scene stunning; from enticing sceneries of cities such as New York, London and Paris, to various scoops of Hogwarts. Captivating viewers once again with the nostalgic soundtrack ‘Hedwig’s Theme’. However, the frequency of visual effects brings too much dynamism to the story that at some points it is arduous to keep up. The director (David Yates), who helmed the last four Harry Potter movies, seems to focus more on captivating the viewer through imagery, leaving a lot of questions unanswered. For instance, the film could have delved deeper into what makes Grindelwald the villain. After all, he is fighting for the recognition and freedom of wizards.

Overall, the film is a good piece of work with great performances from top class actors, an amazing soundtrack and fascinating visual effects. But, considering the fact that the story is developed from the well-known wizarding world of Harry Potter, expectations are drastically higher, thus the disappointment is considerable.

3 stars

Image Credit: Movie DB.

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