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New creatures, familiar spells, and the fantastic visuals by J.K. Rowling make this Harry Potter spinoff truly enjoyable for all fans

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The Crimes of Grindelwald leads the Fantastic Beasts series down a creative and imaginative road that revives fan-favorite moments from the Harry Potter universe

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New creatures, familiar spells, and the fantastic visuals by J.K. Rowling make this Harry Potter spinoff truly enjoyable for all fans

The latest installment in the Fantastic Beasts series, a prequel to the Harry Potter films, The Crimes of Grindelwald introduces a handful of new characters and creatures, all who prove their importance to the story in one way or another. Returning creatures (Nifflers and Bowtruckles) turn out more helpful to Newt along his journey, while the new beasts (an elephant-sized cat, sphinx-like animals, and more) proved to be more distracting and problematic. As if the new creatures were roadblocks, the road Newt traveled throughout the film had many stops and distractions; but his end goal was never out of sight―defeating Grindelwald. Johnny Depp was briefly introduced as Grindelwald in the first Fantastic Beasts, but his role in this film is much larger. Grindelwald wants nothing more than to take over both wizarding and non-wizarding worlds. Our heroes, both old and new, must do everything in their power to defeat him.

Newt (Eddie Redmayne) returns as the main character set out to stop Grindelwald, and to aid him along the way is young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). Due to a conflicting relationship status, Dumbledore swore not to engage in conflict with Grindelwald, and put that task upon Newt. Receiving brief notes and visits from Albus, Newt is given very little help on his quest and must rely on the loyalty, strength, and help of his friends to fight through tough situations. The development of Newt and Albus’s relationship began when Newt was a student at Hogwarts, and Albus was his professor. Knowing the power Newt had, Albus kept an eye on him until he left for America (where the events of the first movie take place) where he had to track him back down and warn him about Grindelwald.

In an interesting spin on a previously known (and somewhat despised) character, it is shown that Nagini, who has only previously been seen as Voldemort’s familiar in the Harry Potter films, was formerly a woman, and her backstory was quickly explored. We see her befriending Credence (the obscurial from the first film) and aiding him in his journey to find his true family. Traveling throughout the movie together, their relationship grew strong and quick, but having that deep connection caused conflict towards the end of the film.

Hogwarts makes a bold return to the big screen since its last appearance in The Deathly Hallows Part Two which came out seven years ago. Having housed the famous wizard Harry Potter, Hogwarts is a famously known wizarding academy where young wizards go to be trained. Newt and Albus are the only newly introduced characters confirmed to have gone there, however Tina and Queenie Goldstein may have gone there as well. Through backstory and flashbacks, and a brief moment of quidditch, the return of Hogwarts felt very warm and welcoming. Seeing the school of witchcraft and wizardry once again was very nostalgic and an entrance most fans appreciated.

The overall plot structure seemed very confusing and long, but pieces slowly started coming together after the credits rolled. The way certain events and the action scenes played out in the moment felt unorganized, but as the film carried on they were necessary to the storytelling and will be very important in future films to come. Plot twists were actually surprising, the wizard fights were fantastically choreographed, and the new characters/beasts were entertaining to watch and see how they fit in to the film.

 

The Crimes of Grindelwald: 8/10

About the Writer
Matthew Silbernagel, Film Critic

Matthew Silbernagel is a junior. He enjoys going to movies, listening to music, and hanging out with friends. He hopes to accomplish writing movie reviews...

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New creatures, familiar spells, and the fantastic visuals by J.K. Rowling make this Harry Potter spinoff truly enjoyable for all fans