Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a 2018 fantasy film directed by David Yates and written by J. K. Rowling. A joint British and American production, it is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). It is the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and the tenth overall in the Wizarding World franchise, which began with the Harry Potter film series. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp. The plot follows Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore as they attempt to take down the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, while facing new threats in a more divided wizarding world.

In 1927, the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) is transferring the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald from their maximum security prison to London to be tried for his crimes in Europe. Grindelwald escapes during the transfer, aided by his follower and MACUSA employee, Abernathy. 3 months later in London, Newt Scamander appeals to the Ministry of Magic to restore his revoked international travel rights following his misadventure in New York City. While at the Ministry, Newt runs into Leta Lestrange, an old Hogwarts classmate who is engaged to his brother, Theseus, an auror in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The Ministry offers to restore Newt’s travel rights if he assists Theseus in locating the obscurial Credence Barebone, who has resurfaced in Paris.

They believe Credence may be Leta’s long-lost brother, Corvus Lestrange, the last of a long line of pure-blood wizards. Grindelwald believes only Credence can kill his “equal”, Hogwarts Professor Albus Dumbledore. Newt, however, declines, refusing to choose a side, and the auror Grimmson is dispatched instead. Dumbledore meanwhile has another meeting with Newt to convince him but does not give him an answer. Newt’s American friends, Queenie Goldstein and Jacob Kowalski, arrive at his house and finds out that Jacon remembers his time in New York as only his bad memories were wiped but his time with Newt, Queenie & Tina were good. Tina is in London to search for Credence. Seeing Jacob’s odd behaviour, Newt realises that Queenie has enchanted him into eloping to Europe with her to circumvent MACUSA’s marriage ban between wizards and muggles. After Newt lifts the charm, Jacob and Queenie quarrel about the marriage law, and an upset Queenie leaves to find Tina. Newt realises Tina is in Paris, and, ignoring the travel ban, he and Jacob follow the sisters to Europe.

Credence and Nagini, a young female circus attraction who can transform into a snake, while searching for Credence’s birth mother, locate the servant who put him up for adoption. However, Grimmson, who is secretly working for Grindelwald, arrives and kills her. Meanwhile, Tina meets Yusuf Kama, who is also hunting Credence. Later, Newt and Jacob also encounter Yusuf and follow him to Tina. Yusuf, revealed to be Leta’s maternal half-brother, says he made an Unbreakable Vow to kill Credence, whom he believes is his step-brother, Corvus, and the last of the Lestrange family. Newt and Tina sneak into the Paris branch French Ministry of Magic to retrieve documents confirming Credence’s identity and reconcile. Leta joins them reveals that Credence cannot be Corvus Lestrange: as a child, she inadvertently caused the death of her infant brother by switching him with baby Credence while on a doomed New York-bound passenger ship, thereby sparing Credence and leaving Corvus presumably drowned. Meanwhile, a fabricated trail has lured Credence to the Lestrange tomb where Grindelwald is holding a rally for his followers. Jacob finds Queenie, now seemingly aligned with Grindelwald, in the audience there.

Grindelwald preaches the abolition of laws concealing wizards from muggles, and utilizes images of the imminent Second World War to justify worldwide wizard supremacy and domination. Aurors surround the rally, led by Theseus, but Grindelwald fends them off while unleashing his emissaries to spread his word across Europe. Grindelwald casts a circle of blue flame to divide followers from enemies. Credence and Queenie cross over to join him, while Leta sacrifices herself to save Newt, Tina, Jacob, Yusuf, Nagini, and Theseus. As Grindelwald escapes, the remaining heroes unite alongside the immortal alchemist Nicolas Flamel to fend off a curse that Grindelwald directed at Paris. Seeing the devastation, Newt realizes he must join the fight.

At Hogwarts, Newt gives Dumbledore a vial, secretly taken from Grindelwald, that contains a blood pact that Grindelwald and Dumbledore made as teenagers. Newt correctly surmises that the pact magically prevents the two from combatting each other; Dumbledore believes it may be possible to destroy the pact. In his base at Nurmengard in Austria, Grindelwald tells Credence that he is actually Albus Dumbledore’s long-lost brother, Aurelius, and the only person powerful enough to defeat him. Queenie uses her mind-reading ability to advise Grindelwald on ways to control Credence. A baby bird that Credence had been caring for is revealed to be a phoenix, a bird associated with the Dumbledore family. Grindelwald then provides Credence with his first wand, and the film ends as Credence casts a spell for the first time.

Again this is a spectacular movie to watch and there are some good performances. It is hard not to like the lead characters and, for me especially, Queenie who is so sweet but the story is unnecessarily over-complicated and messy. I felt a little bored much like in the first film. I must say that even though I gave the first movie a 6.5 outta 10, on second viewing I would raise the rating to an 8. Much like that for this one too I guess. I give it a 6.5 outta 10! A second viewing might change my mind.

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