Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a massive success when it debuted in 2016.

People who had grown up with the Harry Potter franchise and were desperate to dip their toes back in the magical world were thrilled to see wizards and witches casting spells, apparating and getting into wand battles.

So there was a lot of audience expectation riding on the latest adventure – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

And what we got was, well, something that’s just okay.

Yes, there are moments of pure cinema magic, but there are also plenty of annoyances and frustrating reveals.

The film picks up some time after the previous movie.

Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne) has returned to London after the shenanigans in New York.

His brother Theseus (a perfectly cast Callum Turner) and future sister-in-law Leta Lestrange (the ever-brilliant Zoe Kravitz) are trying to convince him to become an auror – something of a wizarding cop.

Magical folk: Callum Turner, Zoe Kravitz and Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts: The Crime of Grindelwald, rated M, in cinemas now.

Magical folk: Callum Turner, Zoe Kravitz and Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts: The Crime of Grindelwald, rated M, in cinemas now.

But Newt refuses to be drawn into the hunt for Credence Barebones (Ezra Miller, one of the weaker performers in the movie), a repressed wizard who poses a great danger to all humanity.

A young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law, charming as the future headmaster) then convinces Newt to head to Paris and track down Credence before he can join up with the villainous Grindelwald (a tiresome Johnny Depp). Back along for the ride are American trio Tina and Queenie Goldstein (Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol) and Jacob Kowalski (Don Fogler).

While there are still plenty of adorable magical creature moments – those nifflers do not get any less cute – the overall storyline of this film is lacking. As the second of a planned five-film franchise, there is plenty of set-up and plot bridging going on, but not a lot in the way of actual story progression. Some subplots are fascinating – especially that surrounding Leta’s family – and some require further exploration.

But many fans will find it hard to come to terms with a particular revelation at the very close of the film, and what that means for all we have come to understand about the characters we know and love.

Rating: 6/10