If you are in any way like me you have been planning your excursion to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald for about a year.
Though I devoured all the trailers the movie still had so many surprises on the night. I went to see the movie with a sister and my nephew.
The premise is simple, Grindelwald is to finally be tried for his crimes in Europe so must be transferred from the US to London, during which he escapes.
Free and at-large Grindelwald now presses on with his plan, gaining followers and fast. With fear still ripe in Paris Grindelwald convinces the magic community that if they do not follow him the Muggle community will bring another war.
The Ministry of Magic has grounded Newt, he is on their no-apparate list. There is one way the Ministry will lift this ban. Newt must agree to go to Paris and hunt down Credence bringing him in any way possible.
Newt is morally against this because he didn’t want to arrest Credence he wanted to help Credence. Newt knew that the Ministry didn’t want to help him but to contain him.
Newt went to the Ministry to discuss this and here we met Leta Lestrange, Newt’s future sister-in-law. It is evident that there is something more between Leta and Newt. Then we meet Newt’s brother Theseus Scamander, unlike his younger brother Theseus is broad and dark-haired.
Having told the Ministry to stick it Newt is about to leave the Ministry, Theseus gives Newt a hug. “They’re watching you,” his bother warns him in a whisper.
While in his basement Newt heard something breaking upstairs, he goes to investigate it and finds Jacob and Queenie. At once it looks as though Jacob is sick but without inquiring into this Newt runs to the door and calls for Tina, it is revealed she is in Paris.
Jacobs actions are clumsy and Queenie suggests they all sit down to dinner. With his mind off Tina, Newt realises what is wrong with Jacob.
Jacob looks out his own eyes and sees that everything is pink and with radiating hearts. By now any Potterhead would know the signs. Queenie begs Newt to leave Jacob alone, to allow her to conclude her plan. Again Newt’s morals just won’t allow this. With a wave of his wand, Newt is congratulating Jacob on his engagement.
Words pass between the lovers and it is not long before the audience realises why it was that Queenie had Jacob under a love potion. Queenie storms out and disapparates leaving Jacob in the rain.
This is of course when Dumbledore turns up. Newt is adamant he doesn’t want to get involved, in the search for Credence, he definitely doesn’t want to break the law. Dumbledore, on the other hand, convinces him that he, Dumbledore, is only offering a place of safety should the law be bent by accident.
(Que twinkle in eye)
Dumbledore is offering Newt the chance to save Credence and stop Grindelwald. Though Newt wants to do both but is reluctant to move against the Ministry. With Queenie running away to Tina in Paris and Dumbledore believing that Credence and Grindelwald are also there, Newt feels he has no choice but to reunite Jacob and Queenie, tell Tina that it is his brother getting married, not him, and, if possible save Credence from Grindelwald.
Keep your eyes peeled for Nickolas Flamel in Paris.
Credence has found his way into a circus as a cleaner. While travelling with this group Credence has fallen in love with Nagini. A beautiful woman who is also a Maledictus, she can shift from a snake into a woman and back. However, over time it becomes harder to turn back, one day she will remain in her snake form.
Nagini and Credence decide to run away from the circus together. Credence uses his freedom to search for the truth about his family.
When Newt turns down the trip to find Credence on the Ministry’s behalf they employ Grimmson instead. Only Grimmson has an ulterior motive and is using the Ministry to help Grindelwald find Credence first.
You would think with Tina, Newt, Grimmson and Grindelwald all looking for Credence this might just be enough, you would be wrong. This plot is about to take a twist the size of Gringotts. Enter Yusuf Kama, no idea who that is? you are not alone. It turns out that Leta Lestrange was not an only child, in fact, she had a half-brother.
This boy was believed to have a special power, some think that this prophecy was about Credence. Kama is one of them, however, he doesn’t want to kill Credence for this. If Credence is the lost heir Kama wants to kill him because Leta’s father, Lestrange, hypnotised Kama’s mother to leave the family. She later died giving birth to Leta.
On his father’s deathbed, Kama made the unbreakable vow, promising to kill the one thing Lestrange loved most in the world which was his son.
Kama moves in to kill Credence when Leta tells the terrible truth. Credence cannot be the lost Lestrange heir because Leta killed her brother when he was a baby. Replacing her brother with another baby close by, Leta left the sinking ship and got on a lifeboat. She watched as her brother and the woman who held him both drowned.
Credence was the baby who made it to America but he was not the Lestrange baby. It seemed that even though Kama bore the mark of the unbreakable vow he had no vow to fulfil.
Using the Lestrange story Grindelwald conscripted his audience to the Lestrange crypt He stood in the centre of a church like auditorium and spouted propaganda. Using the future to fill witches and wizards with fear. Fear of war and of actions by the muggles, fear of one another while proclaiming only to love.
Sides are chosen and some leave us more than bereft. Blue flames spring up around Grindelwald and only the truly devout can make it through.
Her last action is to protect those she loves and in doing so Leta forfeits her life. The dark side now have Credence and Queenie, and we “the good guys” are again left asking what was it all for? the greater good?
The movie was filmed elegantly, with the use of camera angles and graphics, it gave movement and lightness to the magic.
People being incorporated into the moving bricks of buildings, Nagini transforming into the sake, even the dark, black, viscus fabric that appears on the streets of Paris, covering the surrounding buildings.
The action moved too fast at times with so many characters to try to keep in mind. It took me quite a few minutes to realise the dark figure that had saved Jacob was Tina.
While a much darker movie than the first, it still had a few laugh out loud moments. With the return of some fury favourites and new monsters, you’ll be afraid to blink.
Grindelwald’s followers’ actions are conducted in Gestapo like movements. They move ruthlessly and kill without compassion, even ending the life of a muggle toddler.
The script was not perhaps as fluffy and light as the first movie but this is to be expected when dealing with such a dark plot. Growing darker just as they did in Harry Potter.
As for the acting, not once did any of the acting cause me to doubt that I was in the magical world and that it was in danger.
Of all the newcomers, for me, the acting of both Zoë Kravitz and Claudia Kim. Their acting skills added to those of returning cast, in particular, the brilliance of Grindelwald played by Johnny Deep and the ever-changing Credence played by Ezra Miller.
In a category, all of their own were the cast playing younger incarnations of the main cast. Thea Lamb and Ruby Woolfenden who both play Leta at different times in her childhood and Joshua Shea’s astounding portrayal of a young Newt.
Credit where it is due, Jude did an incredible job as a younger Dumbledore, however, I still miss the Irish accent.
Though I was shocked at parts, upset and downright traumatized when Credence’s “real name” is revealed, sorry you’ll have to watch the movie for that secret, I loved it more than I thought I would. I left with more questions than when I arrived.
As ever we see how thin the vapour is between good and evil, right and wrong. A longing for love and acceptance has pushed both Queenie and Credence to the place Newt didn’t want them to go.
Personally, I liked the look into the relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. I felt it was needed to explain why Dumbledore was reluctant to fight Grindelwald. I thought it was a nice touch to use the Mirror of Erised.
Did Dumbledore’s interfering cause more harm than good? It seems that Dumbledore is old hat at using his students to get what he wants and I’m not sure he is all too bothered by that. After all wasn’t Leta a past student?! So I wonder when it all comes down to it is losing students like Leta and Harry (yes I know he comes back) but is it all just……..for the greater good?
4/5 wands /* /* /* /* –C.P.W