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  1. Published on: 07/02/2019 08:46 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: After the escape of dangerous wizard Gellert Grindelwald, Magizoologist Newt Scamander and skilled teacher Albus Dumbledore set out in catching him.

    I've had very little to care about this film going into it which felt rather strange.

    I've enjoyed all the Harry Potter films. It's one of the few franchises that managed to get better the more films it made.

    But once the Harry Potter saga ended, this current spin-off storyline has had me feeling rather ordinary.
    The first Fantastic Beasts while decent overall, had me feeling somewhat disappointed. There were many aspects that just made me not caring that much for the story compared to the Harry Potter films. I was struggling to remember the character outside of Newt Scamander and the general story seemed to have too many sub-plots that were as forgettable as the next.

    So it did feel strange having very little expectations for the sequel. However, I did feel partly optimistic as I know this has the potential to be as great as the Harry Potter films.

    Firstly I must say there is a huge amount to take in. It was a negative start for me as the opening action set-piece was really tricky to see and work out what was happening. With the combination of very dark images and quick editing, that opening did not fill me with much confidence for the rest of the film.
    Thankfully, the rest of the film was never like its opening and I could see everything that was happening. In terms of making sense, well, we'll get to that later.
    I could tell early on, then I think a bit of extra concentration would be required for this story and it ended up being a very wise choice.
    There's a lot going on, and that looked to be its biggest downfall and the reason I could see why the general consensus was rather mixed. But despite that as the film was moving along, I was never bored and I was liking but in a rather strange away.

    The performances on the whole were pretty good and my biggest stand-out was quite surprising. Playing a young Albus Dumbledore must be tricky with the amount of pressure and expectations surrounding it. So I think Jude Law did a very good job in this role. I was unsure at first. But I eventually warmed to him and felt Law to be a safe pair of hands.
    I was happy to see Eddie Redmayne and Dan Fogler sort of play-down their characters from the previous installment. They both felt more down-to-Earth, have a more engaging presence and utilising their development well.
    Despite Johnny Depp being the title character, he didn't heavily featured. But his performance I thought was perfectly fine, but never exceptional.
    Like Law, Zoe Kravitz was a nice surprise and I felt her character to be the most interesting out of everyone.
    I liked how Alison Sudol utilised her characters story and development in this film. It certainly made me invested in where she was going in this story.
    Sadly, I'm still unsure about the casting of Katherine Waterston and Ezra Miller. I don't know if it's their performances or their characters. But whatever it is, I'm just engaging and possibly not even caring for what eventually happens to them.
    You can tell that there are a lot of characters in this. So I'll give a quick round-up of a few others. I liked finding out Claudia Kim's character, I didn't see the point of having Brontis Jodorowsky's character, it was great seeing Jamie Campbell Bower despite being in it for only one scene and I feel youngsters Thea Lamb and Joshua Shea did a great job in what was my favourite scene of the film.

    As expected, the technical side was of high-quality as it has been throughout the franchise. The visual effects were particularly strong especially in its creature designs, the costume design was as lavish and heavy detailed as usual and even the impressive practical sets and props were very noticeable even with it being surrounded by green-screen.

    Sadly, there are many obvious problems with the film. The biggest one is that there is too much stuff happening. The amount of sub-plots going on is making the story structure feel uneasy and jerky with its flow. It seems they preferred to just explain the plot and further enhance the world instead of giving us a story that I could enjoy, make it feel accessible for all types of fans and make it feel like a fun time instead of an essay.

    A minor problem I had was that I wasn't quite sure the title reflects what I saw on screen. I went into this fearing we would have little Redmayne action as having 'The Crimes Of Grindelwald' in huge letters and 'Fantastic Beasts' in very tiny letters was enough for me to say that the studio has lost faith with that aspect and instead just link as much of it to Harry Potter.
    Thankfully, I was proved wrong in a way. There was a lot more new creature designs that were great to see and I'm glad we still had plenty of Fantastic Beasts to discover. But I don't feel there was enough Grindelwald action except in the final act to warrant the title being what it was. To be honest, with the amount of storylines taking place, I'm not sure what the sub-title of the film should be.

    While I don't think this was a totally coherent story, the information that I processed during the film was rather good. So I did like it, but in a particular way.
    This is definitely a film for the hardcore fans, as they will probably make the most sense out of what the film is trying to say. For the general fans however, I can see them losing patience with this. I could probably say the same for the younger fans. The tone is probably the least enjoyable and fun of the franchise and unless they are heavily invested with the wizarding world already, confusion will quickly kick in and therefore boredom.

    There just seemed to be too many sub-plots fighting for screen-time and from a story-telling point of view, it got rather messy and really convoluted.
    But as I'm personally heavily invested in this world already, with a bit of added concentration, I felt the film ended up being rather rewarding in terms of information that we were given.

    There is a lot to process, but there is plenty to talk about before the next installment. It will certainly begin many discussion topics on Pottermore and various other outlets for the hardcore fans to express their opinions. To end on a positive note, I feel more confident with there this is going than say compared to the Star Wars franchise. I can see a plan being formed and I can see myself potentially liking this film a lot more once I hope everything make sense after part three takes place.

    Rating: 7/10
    Last edited by Film Critic; 17/02/2019 at 08:35 PM.

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