WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, in theaters now.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them presented an exciting look at some of the strangest and most beautiful aspects of the Wizarding World made famous in the Harry Potter universe. The creatures throughout were the draw, as were the adventures of Newt Scamander as he tried to protect the magical animals from people who all too often would shoot first and ask questions later.
And that’s the biggest problem with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald. So much of the film is dedicated to the politics and machinations of the Wizarding World, that it takes away from the inherent appeal of the series in the first place. There just aren’t enough fantastic beasts in Fantastic Beasts 2.
Care Of Magical Creatures
A consistent criticism of The Crimes of Grindelwald is the general lack of exploration. Even though audiences get their first real look at the magical version of Paris, there’s not much that makes it stand out from the rest of the Wizarding World. If anything, it just feels like Diagon Alley with a fresh coat of French paint.
By far, the most compelling location in the film is Newt's home and personal nature enclosure. The room feels like the kind of magical touch that helped define the world of Harry Potter so vividly for fans in the first place. The different habitats offer homes to the various creatures, including an impressive looking Kelpie made of seaweed and the adorable Nifflers scrounging around for treasure.
When the movie actually embraces the fantastic beasts of the title, it shines. Newt works as a character because of his undying love for the various animals he comes across. His easy attitude makes him a quick friend to the Zouwu, the massive Chinese lion creature that he coaxes into his enchanted suitcase.
Whenever the film actually takes the time to show Newt with the animals, whether it’s unbinding trapped creatures, caring for the Nifflers or just generally loving the strange beasts that populate the Wizarding World, the movie really works.
Eddie Redmayne gives Newt an awkward disposition, except when he’s dealing with creatures and becomes casually cool, confident and kind. It’s an adorable portrayal, and works incredibly well with his performance – especially when he does his best not to compare Tina’s eyes to a salamander, but that’s all he can think of to describe true beauty.
Whenever the film explores that side of the world, it’s a sweet tale within the Harry Potter universe. The problem is the rest of the movie.
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