Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Director: David Yates
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law, Johnny Depp

In the first thirty minutes, the second release in the Wizarding World franchise undoes all of the dramatic events from the climax of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Gellert Grindelwald, the powerful dark wizard who was arrested, breaks out in the first few minutes and heads to Paris to find Credence, who I thought died but is now alive and desperate to find his parents. They are joined by Newt Scamander and Jacob, whose memory wipe is shrugged off with one line of dialogue. The Goldstein sisters are in France as well, but they seem to have different personalities now. The first movie suffered from J.K. Rowling’s plotless and rambling screenplay, but it was at least somewhat likeable. However, Rowling totally drops the ball with this boring, confusing, and often nonsensical fantasy sequel which spends more than two hours exploring subplots that lead nowhere, introducing characters who add nothing and then disappear or die, or providing fan service with a familiar name, even if it contradicts established Harry Potter lore. In the end, I was left with more questions than answers. What is this movie about? Why is Newt involved in any of it and what does he actually do to advance the plot? When do we get to see the crimes of Grindelwald? Hopefully it all makes sense when the series is complete. For now, this feels like a totally irrelevant detour to the next episode, The Secrets of Dumbledore.