As deeply boring Harry Potter fan, I sometimes need to make a conscious effort to focus on the positives. So I think it's worth noting that I did not have to try for hard to find any positive to focus on Amazing animals: Grindelwald's crime.
The second part in Harry Potter The prequel series is now in theaters, and with that, author J.K. Rowling, who is writing the monitors, has introduced a variety of serious wrinkles in his own established universe. The plot is confusing, uneven and obviously dedicated to creating an enchanted story that will play out in future installments.
Watching the movie feels like being released into the middle of a very thick novel full of words whose meaning you do not know. And this applies regardless of your level of Harry Potter fandom; Rowling makes a ton of world-building in flight and expects viewers to roll it and figure things out as they go. It's hard to do, and it does Grimes of Grindelwald difficult to review, as it is so obvious to lay the foundation for a future movie.
But even given all this, there are things to enjoy it; and things to think are, I think, quite interesting things!
It is best not to think about it Amazing animals: Grindelwald's crime as an independent movie as much as a really long prolog for Fantastic animals 3
Grindelwald's crime picking up where the first one Amazing animals film left: with the dark guide Grindelwald (controversial Johnny Depp) in prison after infiltration the American magic congress. (Why he wanted to infiltrate it in the first place was not ever fully explained, but it was clear to be generally evil.)
In the opening of the new movie, Grindelwald releases dramatic jail and leaves Professor Dumbledore – an inexplicably de-camped Jude Law – to decide how to respond. Dumbledore, who was canonically in love with Grindelwald as a teenager, and perhaps once in relationship with him, is either reluctant or unable to fight him now, in adulthood, so he sends our hero Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to the battle Grindelwald in his place. This means finding someone who can effectively fight him: Credence (Ezra Miller), which we encountered in the first place Amazing animals film as a scared orphan, confused about her identity and unaware of her own vast magic abilities.
Grindelwald's crime then follows Newt when he tries to find Credence in Paris. It also follows Grindelwald as he tries to locate credibility, and as he launches, it has to be the fastest aggregate and greatest subdued political allegory ever thrown by a writer who can have much better shades than this. The driving force of Grindelwald's crimes plot – but it's hard to refrain from putting sarcasm quote around "plot" – for Newt to find Credence before Grindelwald can, because it means that the creditor first gets the best chance to use his magic as a weapon for their page. (More about what these pages are fighting for in a moment.)
Along the way, the film is sided by a broken part of subplots. Characters continue to throw around fragments of prophecies whose origins are never properly contextualized and whose predictions are never completely explained. There are childbirths, wrong identity cases, mysterious characters with mysterious backgrounds, dramatic flashbacks and several moments that interfere with the recognized Canonical Timeline for the Harry Potter universe in ways that will surely break the brain of Harry Potter fans over the internet. There is even a giant Chinese firefighter thing that needs to be handled. (It's cute!)
But none of these subplots further the story beyond giving a temporary dramatic reveal that ultimately goes nowhere. Characters appear, deliver backstory and dramatic revelations, and then, more often, die. The effect is basically to look at Grindelwald's crime Feels like staring at the spinning top from Beginning for two hours straight before eventually realize that it will never fall over because it does not have enough mass to interfere with its inertia. There is only no story, no subject. And what little substance as it is essentially forms a dramatic exposition to the next Amazing animals Film.
It is especially unfortunate that this wheel spin for expository setup was one of the main complaints of critics who reviewed the previous Amazing animals film. But the previous movie had so much more real plot than the one compared, The Grindelwald's crime Feels extra flimsy and empty. At least in the previous movie there was a set of clear achievable goals that meant rounding off a lot of amazing animals!
But. But! Are we watching Harry Potter movies for the action, or are we watching Harry Potter movies for the wizard? Because Grindelwald's crime contributes to beauty and a solid sense of attitude and depth to the Harry Potter universe, and it deserves credit for it.
Amazing animals represents a development for the Harry Potter franchise in some interesting ways. In other ways, not so much.
One of the things I continue to admire and love most about Harry Potter movie franchise in his later days is how director David Yates, who has helmet all movies since the fifth in the main franchise, remains fully engaged in J.K. Rowling's vision, no matter how vicious it can get. And let's be true, Amazing animals is a brand new franchise bow that has the head who knows-where, and Rowling's vision is deep hidden in Grindelwald's crime.
But Yates, with the brand mix of sensitivity, detail and emphasis on the sumptuous world building he has deployed in each of the six Harry Potter films he has directed so far, succeeds in getting things to work in the end. The crazy age wizard, Art Deco with a splash of steampunk, moves from vintage New York to London and Paris during the movie's run and it looks as beautiful as ever.
While the magic elements may feel some color-by-numbers sometimes, it's clear that Yates, Rowling and the prolonged Harry Potter scriptwriter-awaiting producer Steve Kloves still think deeply about how to keep the details of this world unique and magical. And I think for the most part they feel magic; that is, they feel like a world I like to spend time, even when I'm horrified by the lack of history.
It helps Amazing animalsCharacters are mostly characters that I like to watch. It's hard to overstate just how unique Redmayne's Newt Scamander lies within annals of fictional heroes. Not only is he clear and unclear neurodifferent, but he subverts typical screenings of masculinity in refreshing and unexpected ways. Rowling seems to have written him by consciously putting himself together with the troops of toxic masculinity, and the result is that Newt, but conceited to be of plot drama, always feels like the answer to the questions she is talking about violence and propaganda and side-taking.
Unfortunately, these questions are not very well functioning. Grindelwald's dark wizard is a confused mishmash of World War II, militant fascism disguised as left rhetoric and troubled trolling about Nazis and World War II, which are intended to appeal to purebred sorcerers of all races, including at least one character coded Jewish. What Grindelwald's real policy is beyond grabbing the genocide is someone's guess, but bearing in mind that this movie arrives in one of the most politically confusing and polarized eros in the latest story, it is extremely worrying that Grindelwald's true message is so vague and " insert-your-own ideology "as possible.
And then it's Grindelwald itself. The large number of characters in Grindelwald's crime means we spend less time with Newt and his core companion of friends than before, but we probably spend most time with Grindelwald. And although Johnny Depp's performance is particularly subdued (for Depp, at least), Grindelwald still feels like the series's flamboyant homosexual villain (a stereotype that is further exacerbated because of the tone down and butch Dumbledore has become) – he is always a little too close to his potential ally, always seduce himself for joining the dark side, always framed by the film as representing some irresistible and innocent evil.
It's weird and uncomfortable to watch, and I wish I felt like more of that artist and the discomfort is that Grindelwald is a Nazi and not because he is worried. (All this potential union of Grindelwald's evil with his dreams is built into the story of the Harry Potter books, but given the hitherto, there are only two famous queer figures in the whole witchcraft universe, and given that one of them is an evil the genocide of Aryan and the other is in love with the evil genocide Aryan, we can be forgiven to feel a little trick about how things are playing.)
But commenting too critically on Grindelwald's crime could on this point constitute unfair speculation. Rowling is clearly in the middle of juggling eight or nine plot points at one time as she loves to do, and it seems something useless to do nothing more than stand back and let her take it until we finally have a coherent 10-hour movie that we can be judged as a whole. What we clearly do not have Grindelwald's crime is a movie; Instead, we have a highly fragmented, not terribly coherent part of something bigger.
Regardless of the other, the bigger thing eventually collects in the glittering magic story we came for, or if it disappears in oblivion, remains to be seen. But for Harry Potter fans who have trusted J.K. Rowling for all the time, the best thing I can say about Grindelwald's crime is probably this: It will not make you want to put your troll away sometime soon.