Review: Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Title: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Screenwriter: JK Rowling

Premise: Newt Scamander is given a mission by Albus Dumbledore himself: to find and protect Creedence Barebone from being recruited by Grindelwald.

Rating: 5 / 5

My brothers. My sisters. The clock is ticking faster. My dream, we live for truth, for love. The moment has come to take our rightful place in the world where we wizards are free. Join me, or die.

This review of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald contains major spoilers. Please proceed only if you have already watched the film. I was incredibly excited for this film.  I really enjoyed the first one. Although I was expecting a light romp about Newt and his creatures, I was pleasantly surprised by the revelation of Grindelwald’s reign. It was a period of Harry Potter history that always intrigued me.  The time period is brilliant as well. The setting, the costumes, the antiquated wizarding laws, just beautifully done. I have read quite a few bad reviews for this film and I don’t agree with them at all.

My favorite thing about this new franchise is that it is a wizarding world that has grown with its fanbase.  Its Harry Potter for adults. I feel that it was written for us. The fans who read the original series as children, who grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione as constant companions. We are all adults now, and so is the wizarding world.

Adult Wizards

One of the most striking features of this film is the astonishing magically feats performed by the characters.  The original Harry Potter series has its fair share of fantastic magical feats. But we are mostly seeing the magic of students who are still learning.  In Fantastic Beasts, the characters are fully grown adult witches and wizards.  And they accomplish amazing things. 

In one scene, Newt recreates a past event on the streets of Paris using magic to determine what happened to Tina.  It is pretty amazing to watch. Most of the spells shown in the film are also non-verbal which was difficult for Hogwarts students, but these amazing wizards can do it with ease.  Another striking scene is the containment of Grindelwald’s fiend fire in the final confrontation.  The team of wizards including the Scamander brothers manage to contain the destructive force with defensive magic. 

Grindelwald also does not disappoint.  Although his lackeys do perform most of the work, he performs some awesome magic himself. The calling to his followers of flowing black material all over Paris was the most visually striking. I’m excited to see what the final battle between Dumbledore and Grinelwald will be like in terms of magic and special effects.

A New Look at Old Friends

Although the film has received a lot of backlash for over-exploring the roots of old characters from the original series, I found it fascinating.  My favorite backstory is Nagini’s.  Her characterization as a maledictus has received a lot of conflict in the fanbase. I think it makes a lot of sense for Nagini to have once been a human. It helps to explain why Voldemort has such a close relationship with her.  Nagini’s loyalty to him also makes sense because she has been trapped in the body of  a snake for decades, and suddenly a charismatic man comes along who can understand her, who knows she is a woman. My only regret is that she does not have a larger role in the film, however I am hopeful that she will play a larger part in the next three films.

That’s not a pair of socks!

The other character that was given a deeper backstory is Dumbledore himself.  Although we knew a little of his relationship with Grindelwald, the film explores this in more detail and reveals previously unknown facts.  The blood pact between them is especially intriguing. And now we know why Dumbledore lied to Harry about what he sees in the Mirror of Erised.  The film has also been attacked for not explicitly stating that Dumbledore is gay.  But anyone who has seen the Mirror of Erised scene cannot possibly say that this is true.  The Mirror of Erised shows nothing less than your heart’s deepest desire.  If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.  The scene itself is highly emotional and incredibly heart breaking. Without saying anything, it says so much about Dumbledore.

Speculation, who is Creedence?

Without a doubt, the most jaw-dropping part of the film is the very end.  Grindelwald tells Creedence that his real name is Aurelius Dumbledore. WHAT!? So this was not explained very well, and I am hoping that this will be the focus of the next film. I do have a few theories:

  1. Grindelwald is lying. Although Creedence finding and nurturing the baby phoenix contradicts this, Grindelwald is wily and could have played a part in order to convince him.
  2. Aurelious is Ariana’s twin or in somehow connected to her. Although never explicitly mentioned in the original series, Ariana was quite clearly an obscurus. The timeline does not quite line up for this theory but who knows what will be revealed.
  3. Aurelious is a half-brother. Dumbledore’s father was known to be a bit of a rascal, who knows what he got up to in his spare time. Again, this is contradicted because he is supposed to have been Azkaban when Creedence was conceived but perhaps that was not so.

Final Thoughts

Did you love the movie? Do you disagree with the bad reviews? What is your theory about Creedence? Please let me know in the comments below!

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