Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald is panned by critics who say it is ‘grim to watch’

J.K. Rowling’s second installment to Fantastic Beasts has not been received well by critics.  

The prequels have been dogged by negative press over one of its stars, Johnny Depp, who was accused of martial abuse. He denied all charges.

Now critics have slammed Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald as a messy movie that does not do its due diligence as the second installment in the Harry Potter prequels, and differs too much from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

Some felt the film – directed once again by David Yates – had lost some of the magic and wonder of the original.  

Critics slammed Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald as a messy movie that doesn't do its due diligence as the second installment in the Potter prequels

Critics slammed Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald as a messy movie that doesn't do its due diligence as the second installment in the Potter prequels

Critics slammed Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald as a messy movie that doesn’t do its due diligence as the second installment in the Potter prequels

Here are some thoughts and film elements to consider before seeing the film. 

‘An excruciating bore just barely enlivened by stray glimpses of Hogwarts’: Film critics and their takes on Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald

The Hollywood Reporter 

The Hollywood Reporter admitted that the first installment of the Fantastic Beast ‘felt like a strained effort to extend Rowling’s brand’ while the second felt like more of its own style. 

The review condemned the color scheme that seemed consistent in the two movies.

It stated: ‘One of the curious, uninviting choices in the Beasts franchise is its greyish-brown palette, and a flattened, backlot, old-fashioned storybook look. Even fake-Paris looks grim. It’s a relief when the film briefly sets down in the lush green landscape around Hogwarts to visit Dumbledore once more.’ 

THR was impressed by the special effects used in the film, calling the images ‘spectacular.’  They seemed relatively impressed with the climatic battle, specifically when ‘Grindelwald unleashes swirls of icy-blue fire, which take over the screen.’

Depp was lauded for his role as Grindelwald, able to ditch his own real world abuse allegations  to 'slip smoothly behind the shell of someone else’s villainy'

Depp was lauded for his role as Grindelwald, able to ditch his own real world abuse allegations  to 'slip smoothly behind the shell of someone else’s villainy'

Depp was lauded for his role as Grindelwald, able to ditch his own real world abuse allegations  to ‘slip smoothly behind the shell of someone else’s villainy’

Chicago Tribune 

Interestingly enough, the Chicago Tribune harped on the blue flames and deemed them ‘expensive.’

‘It took J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter-adjacent franchise exactly one film for the shrugs to set in, even with all those fine actors up there amid expensive digital blue flames,’ the Tribune said in their review

The review did complain about character development, specifically in the relationships and dealings of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol).

According to the Tribune, J.K. Rowling has a way of complicating ‘already complicated feelings and sympathies.’ 

Whereas the first Beast installment focused on the creatures wreaking havoc on NYC, critics weren't thrilled that there weren't as many in the second film

Whereas the first Beast installment focused on the creatures wreaking havoc on NYC, critics weren't thrilled that there weren't as many in the second film

Whereas the first Beast installment focused on the creatures wreaking havoc on NYC, critics weren’t thrilled that there weren’t as many in the second film

The Guardian

The Guardian simply explained the movie as having ‘fewer beasts’ while having ‘more crimes.’

While their review praised the film for being just as ‘spectacular’ as the first installment – ‘with lovingly realized creatures, witty inventions and sprightly vignettes.’ 

‘But I couldn’t help feeling that the narrative pace was a little hampered, and that we are getting bogged down, just a bit, in a lot of new detail,’ the review continued. 

Jude Law was praised for his performance as a young Dumbledore

Jude Law was praised for his performance as a young Dumbledore

Jude Law was praised for his performance as a young Dumbledore

The Guardian felt that the film left some of the franchise’s original focus, for the sake of larger plot details that could be maintained by a ‘bigger ensemble cast.’

One performance, in particular, did catch the publication’s attention. 

‘But the most striking newcomer is young Albus Dumbledore, well played by Jude Law, an enigmatic and charming figure,’ the review asserted. 

The site rated the movie three out of five stars. 

USA Today 

USA Today shared the sentiment that too much was going on in the film.

‘The ambition of “Crimes,” from the ballooning cast to the gymnastics required to connect the story to the grander mythology, threatens to derail the episode at times,’ USA Today wrote

LA Times called the film 'an excruciating bore'

LA Times called the film 'an excruciating bore'

LA Times called the film ‘an excruciating bore’

Specifically, the review mentioned the relationship between Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) and Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) as being ‘downright head-spinning.’

Because there aren’t as many exciting creatures wreaking havoc on a given city, USA Today felt that the movie had lost some of its ‘goofy appeal.’ 

Los Angeles Times

Few reviews were as scathing as the Los Angeles Times, which felt that even die hard fans wouldn’t be able to enjoy the film.

LA Times called the film ‘an excruciating bore just barely enlivened by stray glimpses of Hogwarts, a flicker of gay romance and a menagerie of computer-generated creepy-crawlies, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is enough to make J.K. Rowling fans weep in frustration, provided they can even keep their eyes open.’

They continued: ‘“The Crimes of Grindelwald” is somehow both hectic and leaden, a thing of exhausting, pummeling mediocrity. It offers up dazzling feats of sorcery and realms of wonderment (early 20th-century London and Paris among them) and manages to conjure the very opposite of magic.’

Going as far to call Newt ‘charmless,’ the review did state that Depp was able to ditch his own real world abuse allegations and ‘slips smoothly behind the shell of someone else’s villainy.’ 

Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) had a complicated relationship with Newt in the second installment

Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) had a complicated relationship with Newt in the second installment

Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) had a complicated relationship with Newt in the second installment

The New York Post

Not all reviews were bad, however, with the New York Post favoring the second installment of the Beast franchise over the first – adding that the first ‘sapped the magic and British charm right out of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World™.’

The review noted that ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ was a much more ‘improved sequel’ and felt that the film  ‘gives us a proper villain and a purpose for this series of — gulp — five eventual movies.’

In his second outing, Newt has proved himself a lovable lizard — er, wizard,’ the review added. 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in theaters on November 16. 

  

 

 

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