By Juan Calvillo
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is an adventurous, special-effects-driven and revealing leap back into the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling.
While the visual effects are on point for the sequel to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” it’s the little nods to Potter lore that will really thrill long time fans.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” takes place three months after the events of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
The crux of the movie is held together by the sense of impending doom that comes along when two differing ideologies collide.
The sides are very much cut-and-dry, good versus bad. One side of the wizarding world wants things with humanity to stay peaceful, while the other more radical side wants to destroy and enslave humanity due to their belief of superiority.
The group of heroes from the first movie are no longer together at the beginning of the film.Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne, is being watched after his less than successful trip abroad in New York.
Redmayne is perfect for the role of Scamander and plays the shy and beast-obsessed wizard excellently.
The film takes off rather quickly with a free Grindelwald, played by Johnny Depp, making his presence known.
The pomp and circumstance that seems to flow from every pore of Depp is the perfect fuel for the dastardly Grindelwald, as the characters natural charisma draws more followers to his side.
Grindelwald spends much of the movie manipulating events to draw Credence Barebone, played again by Ezra Miller, closer to his side.
Much of the movie shows Grindelwald using the growing paranoia and fear among wizards and witches to gather followers.
The various fantastic beasts from the movies namesake are a sight to behold.
Some of the newer beasts make the bigger set pieces much more spectacular to watch.
While the special effects take center stage, the story manages to engage and further the mythos of the Potter universe of movies. Slight nods to past Potter movies are throughout the movie. And major characters get a much more fleshed out back story.
The trailers don’t give enough chance to really see how certain characters, specifically Albus Dumbledore, really become more than just one note in the larger scheme of things.
Much of the original cast from the first film reprise their roles in this sequel. Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston all reprise their roles of Jacob Kowalski, Queenie Goldstein and Tina Goldstein respectively.
Fogler brings some of the more comedic moments in the movie.Waterstons portrayal of Tina adds more to the romance subplot between her character and Redmayne’s.
Sudol’s character Queenie is interesting to watch.
Her character development throughout the movie shows how wanting something too much sometimes changes people.
The movie also welcomes Jude Law into the world of magic as the famous Dumbledore from the original Potter series.
Law does quite well in the movie, showing the playful side of the wizard as well as showing the deep feelings that come with regret and hurt from things in the past.
Some of the more revealing information about Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s past comes from just a handful of exchanges between Law and Redmayne.
Despite Millers’ character being at the center of the movie’s plot, Miller delivers a subdued performance. Only until the end does the audience get to see some real emotion from Miller.
“The movie is Rated PG-13 for some sequences of fantasy action.