Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 8.31.30 AM.png

Philadelphia's independent voice
for film criticism.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a series low

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a series low

The latest film in the Wizarding World franchise is titled Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It shares some of the issues of its predecessor, but they are all exacerbated. Crimes has a convoluted story that is incomprehensible and not very interesting, so even if you could figure it out, by the time you do, you won’t care. It brings back all the characters from the previous entry, plus cameos from characters you love in a story they absolutely don’t belong in.

There’s also a lot of magic. More magic than all of the Harry Potter films combined, which reminds me of the Star Wars prequels, cramming every frame with a cool special effect at the expense of just about everything else that made us love the originals. That’s one marked difference between this film and the first Fantastic Beasts: that film still maintained a sense of wonder and discovery that has been a huge part of the franchise. You know what Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is lacking? Beasts. Or crimes, really. Which is confusing for obvious reasons.

The one bright spot remains Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, and he deserves to be in another film that spends more time on magical beasts and the fantastical elements that we have come to love from this universe. Make him a detective, make him an Indiana Jones-like zoologist exploring the world and encountering the more mystical aspects of the wizarding world.

We already know all we need to know about Albus Dumbledore and his relationship with Grindelwald from the original books and films, although Jude Law is great in the role. And again, Dumbledore in these movies is just as useless and frustrating dealing with Newt as he was in helping Harry Potter. Because when you are all-powerful, there always needs to be a convenient blood curse mucking everything up. In the case of Harry Potter it was the horcruxes, in the case of Grindelwald, it is a blood vow keeping them from fighting each other. Yup. it’s that ridiculous. With a swing of his wand, Dumbledore could end it all. No blood curse, no movie. I hate that.

At the end of the day, I really can’t find myself caring about this new trajectory of the story. The characters aren’t interesting, the story isn’t interesting. it’s all just boring filler, pushing us ever onward toward the next installment, and the next. But, here, take my money anyway.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in Philly theaters today.

IL2MM:  Butterfly Kisses / Interview with director Erik Kristopher Myers

IL2MM: Butterfly Kisses / Interview with director Erik Kristopher Myers

Widows is the best theatrical experience of the year

Widows is the best theatrical experience of the year