I quite enjoyed some of the first movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This movie is much the same. I enjoyed part of it. Though I really liked those parts. This movie takes place about nine month after the first. Grindlewald has, of course, escaped. He must be stopped and recaptured before something bad happens.
This movie has less fantastic beasts, but they are there, and they’re still amazing. Some of my favorite parts of the movie are just seeing Newt at work, both in his magic conservation area and out in the field. The magical animals are wonderful. They look great and act great. This time, they’re much more tied into the main plot.
Still, I can’t help but want a movie not about dark wizards and all that. Just have Newt go on adventures with his friends finding magical creatures. It’s great fun whenever they show up.
But this movie is about a lot of things. Perhaps too much. Tina has her own stuff as an auror. Jacob and Queenie have something going on. Credence, yes, he’s back. No, it’s not a huge spoiler for the film. He has something going on. Then Grindlewald is doign stuff. Dumbledore and the ministry is doing stuff. There are whole new characters doing stuff. It’s all too much.
It gets to the point where I can’t follow everything that’s going on, so I’m not clear on what certain character’s motivations are. This movie feels like one of the later Harry Potter movies in that it’s trying to adapt a super-long book into something a few hours long. Only it’s not, yet it feels like I should have read the book to fully get what was going on sometimes.
For the returning characters, I still quite enjoy all of them. One thing I wanted was more Newt and Jacob hanging out, being pals. Unfortunately, they’re too busy chasing down other characters to do that. Newt is still is wonderfully awkward self. I still can’t quite get into Grindlewald, though he does have some nice, scenes in this film building him up as a future force to be reckoned with.
For new characters, we have young Dumbledore! And he’s quite great to see. Leta Lestrange is another great new character. She has a complete story and is pretty much one of the few characters with a complete arc in the film. It was a touching story, too. Theseus is Newt’s brother. I quite like the relationship the two of them have. They love each other but are also exasperated by each other, and I want to see more of them moving forwards.
Yusuf, on the other hand, feels unnecessary. He is like a subplot from the books that would have been cut for a movie adaptation. Unless he becomes really important going forwards, I think the movie would work better without his subplot. It just adds another direction to things. I also don’t think we needed Credence’s friend, the cursed woman. I know why they have someone around, because otherwise Credence would have been alone for most of the film. Still, it feels like one more thing to keep track of.
That is a large problem with the film. There’s just too much going on. Visually, it’s stunning. Magic effects are bigger than ever, and so are the magic creatures. Story, though, could be more focused. They’re mostly trying to set up things in this film for next time, and that doesn’t make for a satisfying story.
A bit more of my thoughts in the spoiler section. This won’t be heavy spoilers, but some.
Okay, here goes. This movie feels like the middle part of a trilogy. The first part introduces the concept. The middle part is where the bad guy wins and the heroes need to recover somehow. Yet, if all goes to plan, this move is the second part of five. I don’t know how Gindlewald will be engagin being the primary villain for the next three installments. They had better have other things for Newt and friends to actually win rather than them losing for two more films before the final showdown. We’ll see how things go moving forwards.
More Newt and friends working with animals!