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The Beast And The Brightest: A Review Of 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald'

Let’s first establish that I’m not a die hard Rowling fan. I respect and admire her; but to be very honest, I’ve read more of her Cormoran Strike detective novels, writing under the name of Robert Galbraith, than her Fantasy/Harry Potter stories. Having said that, I did love Fantastic Beasts, and thought it a strong screenwriting debut for Rowling, ably directed by David Yates. And so now we have the second instalment of a planned five movie franchise, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. 



At a sprawling 2 hours and 15 minutes, there’s much to absorb in this film; with both Rowling and Yates back at the helm. Adorable creatures? Check! Strong tyrannical villain with charisma? Check, and take a bow, Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. Eddie Redmayne stronger and more confident as Newt Scamander? Check, and I really liked how Newt becomes a fuller, more realized character in this film, as opposed to the first film when at times, the Goldstein sisters and the scene-stealing sidekick Kowalski were the more compelling characters. Strong link and reference to the Harry Potter universe? Check, and kudos to Jude Law as young Albus Dumbledore. 



And are there Easter eggs littered all over the film? A definite yes; and there are numerous sidebar stories, in-joke references, character reveals, Potter trivia, and CGI mania strewn all over the film. It’s a messy, stuffed to the brim kind of movie, and still lovable in spite of all the texture. In fact, if you’re one of those who require films to be strong on plot development, stray clear of this 2nd instalment, and just wait for the next film. 


During the brilliant start of the film, when Grindelwald makes his escape from Ministry of Magic incarceration, it’s already established what Grindelwald’s grand plan for the magicking world is all about. Funny then that it takes close to two hours before he takes the initial step of rallying a crowd of ‘magicals’ to join him in his vision of rightful domination. As you can surmise, if not a dyed in the wool Rowling fan, one may not be entranced by all this meandering. But for the Rowling faithful, all this exposition and going off-tangent to give the audience reveals and following loose threads will be a delight.


And one can sense how much fun Rowling is having in creating this pre-Potter universe, inventing it as she goes along, making the film progress at her own pace and whim. If you’re ready to let her take you by the hand and you trust her implicitly; there’s a fascinating journey in store for you.