The ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ Ending Is Emblematic of the Movie’s Problems

     November 21, 2018

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Spoilers ahead for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The ending of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is shocking, and also silly, convoluted, and infuriating. In case you’ve already forgotten, here’s a brief refresher:

Following the rally in the cemetery, Credence (Ezra Miller) has sided with Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), who has made it his personal mission to recruit Credence because he believes Credence is the only one powerful enough to defeat the only threat to Grindelwald, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). We’re led to believe that this power is because Credence is an Obscurial, a person who holds the manifestation of repression of magical energy that becomes a parasitic force. However, it turns out that Credence is far more than an Obscurial.

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Image via Warner Bros.

Earlier in the film, Dumbledore tells Newt (Eddie Redmayne) of an old family legend that a phoenix will come to those who are truly in the lineage of the Dumbledore line. In the final scene, Grindelwald has a phoenix of his own, and it comes to Credence. We then learn that Credence’s real name is Aurelius Dumbledore, as Grindelwald notes that Credence is actual Albus’s brother.

That name, Aurelius Dumbledore, is new. To this point, we only knew of three Dumbledores: Albus Dumbledore, his late sister Ariana Dumbledore (who was likely an Obscurial herself), and his brother Aberforth Dumbledore. It appears that Grindelwald’s plan is not just that he needs a powerful wizard to defeat Albus, but he also needs someone related to Albus.

And yet the connection between Credence and Albus feels weak and undefined. Setting aside that we’re now in store for an exposition scene about how the two are related, the notion of hidden siblinghood is one that writer J.K. Rowling can’t stop seem to hammering on in this movie. We learn that new character Yusuf Kama is the half-brother to Leta Lestrange who in turn is half-sister to Corvus Lestrange Jr., who she accidentally killed during a shipwreck when she was a child. These are all mysteries with uninteresting payoffs. Rowling would have done well to take a lesson from her own books—personal relationships are more important than family relationships. It’s like Lucius Malfoy wrote this sequel.

Additionally, making Credence a relative to Albus also makes the world smaller. This is a problem George Lucas encountered in his Star Wars prequels and it’s one that Rowling is repeating by trying to tie all the characters together. Rather than show the Wizarding World as vast and diverse, it makes the world feel smaller. Yes, there’s a reason Grindelwald chose Credence, but the way it works out is that Newt, our protagonist, is old friends with Leta, who happened to be on a boat that had another wizard baby that just happened to be a relative of Albus Dumbledore, the man who goes on to defeat Grindelwald, teaches Voldemort, and mentors Harry Potter. Small world.

For more on Fantastic Beasts 2, peruse links to our recent coverage below:

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