So I just finished watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald last night and to say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. I know I’m way behind everyone else with this because I didn’t see it in theaters and just watched it on DVD, but now I’m glad that I did that because seeing this on the big screen would be a huge waste of money.
Here’s the thing. This movie had so much potential. It could have been so, so good. The Harry Potter books are masterpieces, with the incredible immersive world created, with all the minute details that come together to form an rich detailed story. This movie was, well, not.
This is a book blog, but since the world of Harry Potter was originally books, I decided to write a ranty review here describing just what I think went wrong.
~You Have Been Warned~
The pacing in this movie was all over the place. Like others have said, this movie felt much more like a giant filler, an two hour way too long set up for the remaining movies. For the entire first 2/3 of the movie, I feel like nothing really happened. The movie was just setting up different characters, introducing us to them, and then jumping to other characters, and other characters. Nothing really happened until the last half hour or so. In fact, since I was watching this on DVD, I could see exactly how much time had passed and how much time was remaining as I watched it, and I honestly just kept thinking when is this going to end? Or, when is something even going to happen?
The thing is, an individual movie or book should be able to stand on its own and hold up by its own merits. Each of the Harry Potter books had an arc of their own, with Harry and his friends facing conflicts and growing as characters and tensions gradually escalating until the climactic endings that felt very appropriate to the book and had been built toward for the whole book. At the same time, they gradually contributed to the overarching conflict of the rise of Voldemort and the impending wizarding war. With Crimes of Grindelwald, the movie does not feel like it builds to a conflict. For most of the movie, I had no idea what was supposed to be happening. It felt like the entire conflict was let’s get everyone to Paris to set up the next movie.
This movie had: Way. Too. Many. Characters. I consider myself to be a very hardcore Potterhead who knows the lore, yet I still had no idea who people were. For example, there was:
- That French lady with Grindelwald; who was she?
- That guy who locked Tina up after the circus; who was he?
- I feel like Newt’s brother kept showing up with some ministry people, but I really don’t know who they were, or how many of them there were, or anything.
- One of Grindelwald’s henchmen I think who he was talking to near when Credence blew up the roof? I also saw him in an elevator with the French lady?
The thing is, JK Rowling is used to writing books. In books, I think you can definitely introduce more characters, since we can get more exposition and backstory on them without awkward expositional dialogue. But here, these characters just kept showing up randomly and after a while I stopped trying to understand who they were.
Another issue with having so many characters goes back to the pacing. There were just so many story arcs that the movie kept switching between that I feel like we were always getting re-orientated with other people and spending time setting up these plots so that none of them could get fully developed. And with that; the character development was awful! There were so many things that felt completely out of character from the first movie, or even within this one. I feel like some of them could be plausible, but they would need to be developed further. For example…
Queenie deserved better. Her story line was one of the things I didn’t just dislike, but absolutely hated about this movie! It made no sense! In the first one, she was so sweet and fun, but in this one she’s actually crazy! The fact that she enchanted Jacob felt actually rapey, not to mention downright evil? I mean, the only other character from the Wizarding World we know enchanted their spouse was Voldemort’s mother, and that definitely wasn’t just brushed off and moved on from.
The fact that she would follow Grindelwald actually makes no sense. Grindelwald talks about how wizards are superior to muggles, and she wants to marry a muggle so she goes over to this side? It just doesn’t make any sense. And the fact that we got like three scenes from her in the entire movie as well made it so much worse. There was no time where we saw her gradually changing her mind; it was like, in the first movie she’s sweet and here she’s bad. The end.
This movie put Way Too Much (with a capital W, T, and M) emphasis on romance. I guess…romance sells? There was so much drama between Jacob and Queenie, and there was Newt being all lovesick puppy over Tina, and literally not wanting to go to Paris to help Dumbledore find Creedence before Grindelwald used him, but then he decided to go because Tina might be there? There was literally so much happening in this movie with its crazy convoluted plot and insane number of characters that just devoting so much time to romance honestly annoyed the crap out of me. It’s not a romance movie; it’s about (or supposed to be about) the crimes of Grindelwald.
The Little Details And Inconsistencies
There were so many little inconsistencies from the other books and movies, and small annoying details that didn’t fit the story. For example:
- McGonogall is teaching at Hogwarts eight years before she is supposed to be born. This can be verified in Order of the Phoenix when she tells Umbridge she had been teaching at Hogwarts for 39 years. There was literally no reason to drop her name, as she played no important role in the plot, other than fanservice.
- What are the wizards wearing? They are wearing suits and muggle clothes. In Goblet of Fire, wizards are shown to be wearing ridiculous combinations of clothes since they don’t know how to dress like muggles, and one wizard wears a woman’s nightgown. But here, Dumbledore is wearing a full on muggle suit while teaching?
- Dumbledore is teaching defense against the dark arts instead of transfiguration! Just because they wanted a scene with Dumbledore and the bogart? We also learn in Half Blood Prince that Professor Merrythought teaches DADA (Tom Riddle wants his job) and has done so for 50 years, which would put her as teacher.
- Why is it in the first Fantastic Beasts, we are introduced to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MCUSA), but here it’s referred to as American Ministry of Magic? Literally why?
- Why are people apparating on Hogwarts grounds? Haven’t they read Hogwarts, A History? You can’t apparate on Hogwarts; Hermione would be ashamed.
- Why did wizards apparate in puffs of black smoke at Grindelwald’s rally at the end? In the rest of this movie and all the movies, apparation is shown to be a squiggly thing in the spot, not a vertical puff of black smoke.
- Why is Credence even alive? He was shown to explode and die in the end of the first movie, and now he’s alive and we’re just supposed to roll with it? Nobody, not one single character, asks the question of why is he still alive?
- Why does Jacob have his memories back? The only bad memories is the most BS explanation ever. If that’s the case, then I’m sure tons and tons of people in New York still have memories. Not to mention it cheapens the entire emotional ending of the last movie with Jacob getting his memories wiped.
- Why does Dumbledore see Grindelwald in the Mirror of Erised, and making the blood pact too? In Deathly Hallows, it’s heavily implied that Dumbledore would see his mother and sister. Furthermore, the Mirror shows your hearts desire, so…Dumbledore’s most desperate desire is to make another blood pact? If it’s just the past/memories we need to see, that’s what we have the Pensive for.
- Creedence = A Dumbledore?????? This literally makes no sense with canon. It cheapens the emotional ending of Deathly Hallows when Dumbledore lays it all down, stripped bare in front of Harry for all his flaws and regrets and tells him everything. Furthermore, it doesn’t even make sense with the time frame considering how much younger Creedence is, Dumbledore’s parents would be dead/in Azkaban when Creedence would need to be born?
Some of these things are all relatively small and don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, and wouldn’t make or break a movie, but considering there are so many, they really all start to add up and make it feel like there was just no effort that went into this movie.
Anyways, in summary this movie sucks. I’m glad I saved money and didn’t see this one in theaters, and I’m probably not going to see the next one in theaters…and I don’t even know if I’ll see the next one at all! I love Harry Potter. I really do. But even more than that, I really really with she would stop adding more garbage and ruining the series.
Have you seen The Crimes of Grindelwald? Do you like it? I’d love to chat in the comments below.