One word review? Disappointed.
One line review? Not interested in the upcoming movies in the Fantastic Beasts series.
Full review? Let me walk you through a thorough discussion post about everything I liked and disliked about this movie.
Warning: Kindly do not read this review/discussion post if you haven’t watched the movie yet.
Let’s break the movie into small parts:
1. The entry of Leta Lestrange into the series, and Newt’s fangirl:
“Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” (FBAWTFT) introduces us to the fact that Leta Lestrange is a person who existed in Newt’s life. Notice the use of past tense. But in “Crimes of Grindelwald” (CoG), she enters Newt’s life as Theseus’s fiance. Which shocked me, as the little hints sprinkled in FBAWTFT suggested to me that Newt and Leta had a ‘thing’. And Leta ending up with Theseus, who Newt COMPLETELY loves and adores (sarcastic eye-roll), was… a little heartbreaking. Newt, a cinnamon roll all of us have come to love, doesn’t deserve such a sad heart story.
Also, who is Bunty? Why does Newt need a person to help him take care of the beasts, when he could take care of all of them perfectly well while travelling to USA in FBAWTFT? And what about Tina? Why not build on an already perfect equation between Tina and Newt, instead of adding Leta and Bunty into the picture.
I have a theory that Bunty is a Squib, based on the fact that she worried that Newt’s jacket would get wet (the Kelpie scene?). I mean, a witch would know a spell to dry clothes quickly, wouldn’t she? In fact, Newt did the very same thing.
2. Tooooooooooooo many new characters:
Here’s a quick list of all the new characters in CoG: Leta Lestrange, Theseus Scamander, Nagini (the girl)(honestly, I don’t know whether she should be included in the list of new characters or beasts), Yusuf Kama, young Albus Dumbledore, Travers, Grimmson, Rosier, Nicolas Flamel and an assortment of Grindelwald’s followers, Ministry of Magic employees and other supporting characters. Compare this to the number of characters that used to get introduced in every book of Harry Potter. One DADA professor, and maybe one Hogwarts student revealed. With the exception of “Goblet of Fire”, where two entire Wizarding Schools were introduced. But then, the books (and the movies) did adequate justice in their own ways.
Too many characters introduced in a short span of 134 minutes and not enough time to explore their backstories at a leisurely pace. I would have loved to explore Leta and Newt’s school-days friendship in more detail. Maybe some more screentime to the gooey Queenie-Jacob romance story, instead of a hurried “engagement”. And Yusuf Kama seemed like an unnecessary character to me. The addition of his story into Credence’s story made the whole plot of CoG way more confusing.
Also, why add a new character when you’re only gonna kill her off? Are we going the George R.R. Martin way now?
3. The Queenie Shocker:
I have given up on this series only because of this twist.
How can Queenie, the Legilimens, make such a decision? I mean, in one scene, Queenie is shown to be getting overwhelmed with the weight of the thoughts of the people around her, and in the next, she is declining a cup of tea in the home of a Grindelwald follower, Rosier?
I mean, yeah, I get that Rosier and Grindelwald and the rest of the supporters could have been Occlumenses (What? I don’t know the plural form of an Occlumens!). But. no. Why. Queenie. Of. All. People.
Queenie was my favourite character in FBAWTFT, and I am conflicted about supporting her decisions in CoG. I mean, I get it, but I don’t get it. AAAGGHHH.
4. The McGonagall fiasco.
If you haven’t heard about this yet, head over to Buzzfeed’s review of Crimes of Grindelwald and enlighten yourself. I am too upset to even talk about it.
5. Where ’em beasts at?
The introduction of beasts like the Maledictus and Chupacabra and Zouwu, beasts that weren’t mentioned in the original FTBAWTFT book, was interesting.
But I have two complaints:
1. Why is JKR exploring new, mediocre things in a universe that she has already created and has been universally recognised as perfect? There are so many beasts from the book that are yet to be covered in the movies. Examples? Streeler, Yeti, Snidget. Need I say more?
2. There was no need for a backstory for Nagini. I was completely okay knowing that Nagini was a ginormous snake who Voldemort may have found in the forests of Albania and that she was Voldemort’s horcrux and she was killed by Neville Longbottom. WHY. A. BACKSTORY.
6. A personal suggestion from a dedicated Potterhead:
A TV series based on The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Additional stories added to the existing stories by the queen of children’s fantasy herself. No destruction of the already perfect Potterverse. And we all lived happily ever after.
I have a few more gripes, which I will continue to add to this list. Till then, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. I’d love to hear some of your thoughts about Crimes of Grindelwald and this series.