Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts 2 are discussed below. Continue reading at your own peril!
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the tenth movie within the Harry Potter universe, and it should have opened up a whole new world of exploration for its franchise. Instead of building off of what worked in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, though (which was, primarily, Newt and his beasts), it pivoted into a much larger and more cosmic battle between two wizarding greats, Dumbledore and Grindelwald. And yet, we won’t see that battle for likely quite some time (probably around the fifth and final planned movie of the Fantastic Beasts franchise). For now, we get setup. And unlike the Harry Potter books and movies, which each had their own climax that built, slowly, towards the battle between Harry and Voldemort, The Crimes of Grindelwald was largely an exposition-heavy chapter of the Fantastic Beasts story that felt almost totally disconnected from the franchise’s other takes in terms of tone, characters, and indeed magic.
There are plenty of things to single out as disappointments or outright mistakes in The Crimes of Grindelwald, although there are a few things that did work. Eddie Redmayne slightly recalibrated his take on Newt to make him even more inward-facing and shy, and yet, able to exude exceptional warmth towards the creatures he saves and adores. Some of the beasts were exceptionally fun, particularly the baby nifflers and the joke of a giant cat-dragon being bewitched by a tinkling toy. But that sense of whimsy and exploration of this wonderful, magical world was limited to only the movie’s smallest moments, leaving the rest feeling rather cold.
Below, I’ve detailed some of the biggest crimes of Fantastic Beasts 2, and why it didn’t work as well as it by all rights could have and should have: