“The Crimes of Grindelwald: Squanderous Potentialum!”
By: Jay Dooley
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” combines a refusal to embrace a new direction for the franchise, needlessly contrived character arcs, and “mysteries” that can’t be solved without tedious exposition, to deliver a film that looks great and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
The film opens with the dark wizard Grindelwald escaping from magical custody; he plans to reveal the wizarding world to the non-magical world and rule wizards and non-wizards alike. At the request of Albus Dumbledore, Newt Scamander travels to Paris to stop Grindelwald. As Grindelwald gathers his forces in preparation, Scamander and his ever-shifting allies must decide for themselves where they stand in the coming war.
“Crimes of Grindelwald” undermines every development of substance that took place in the first “Fantastic Beasts” film: Credence isn’t really dead, Jacob Kowalski has a hand-waved unimpeded memory and Grindelwald’s back on the job in the first ten minutes. Worse, it squanders the opportunity for these prequels to tell anything other than the rise and fall of yet another dark wizard. The potential to tell globetrotting adventures about, you know,fantastic beastsset in the Roaring Twenties of the wizarding universe was real and tantalizing, but alas, squandered. Instead, treat yourself to a cacophony of too many characters whose scattered motives and relationships can’t be discerned without an annotated diagram. J.K. Rowling has also forgotten how to write a mystery and has instead created a puzzle you can’t solve without watching the characters muddle through it on their own. Overall, the visual effects are the only parts of this movie that are fantastic.