The second instalment of the Fantastic Beasts series arrives in gothic style with Johnny Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald on the loose determined to create a world full of pure-blood wizards. As his following grows wizards and witches alike must choose where their loyalties lie. Ezra Miller’s Credence Barebone is also back, and calmer, seeking answers about his true identity. He’s a wanted man with various groups hunting him believing he is the solution to the wizarding world’s civil unrest.
Harry Potter veteran David Yates again directs with most of the original film’s cast returning with some excellent additions in the shape of Callum Turner, Zoë Kravitz and Derek Riddell, however star of the show is undoubtedly Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore and Jude Law’s effortless charm, and ever so subtle Irish lilt, successfully captures the essence of the best headmaster Hogwart’s has ever known. Law brings style and a mischievous energy to a role that warranted more screen time.
Leading the reliable ensemble cast, Eddie Redmayne’s endearing Newt Scamander is still more comfortable around beasts than humans whilst Johnny Depp is suitably menacing without going over the top.
There’s a welcome return to everyone’s favourite wizarding school and as soon as the doors to the Great Hall are opened there’s a comfortable sense of familiarity which is proof the magic is still very much in the air, however at two and a quarter hours it’s quite a long film and, surprisingly, not a lot actually happens.
Some frenetic set-pieces aside, the pace is fairly pedestrian and lacking in humour with sub-plots and back stories given too much emphasis. Something’s definitely brewing in the Fantastic Beast’s cauldron, but it doesn’t bubble over in this film. Yes, there are revelations and intriguing twists with some lovely attention to detail from J.K.Rowling’s enchanted imagination, but there’s an anticlimactic sense to the film which will hopefully be improved upon in the next instalment.
Not as fantastic as it could’ve been, but still a fun magical mystery tour, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald should please the Potter purists, but needs to work harder to make sure its third film’s a charm.
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