Movie Review: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Yet Another J.K. Rowling Hit


It has been a full two years since Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came to movie theaters. This movie contained plots, animated visuals, and characters that bedazzled and bewitched its audiences. It would seem nearly impossible that the sequel could live up to its predecessor. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has indeed received somewhat low ratings from critics that could leave any Potterhead’s jaw on the floor in umbrage. As a Potterhead myself, I didn’t really believe the poor reviews the movie received, yet I did walk into the theater expecting a bit of a letdown. When I walked out, I was poring over visuals, soundtrack, plot details, and of course the fantastical beasts, both new and old.

“It was a very well made movie with huge plot twists and interesting characters,” said Tori Morris ‘23.

“I liked it. I thought it was much better than the first one, but clearly it sets up for the third movie,” said Mrs. Osborne. Unfortunately, one of the reasons why the movie received a lower rating was most likely due to so much information conveyed to the audience in order to construct the rest of the series, so be prepared to take notes, Potterheads.

(If you don’t want to read minor spoilers for the first movie or a synopsis of the second, skip ahead a paragraph.)

In 1927, one year after the events of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) asks the help of one of his former Hogwarts students, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), to locate a certain someone in order to save them from the clutches of Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and even the Ministry of Magic. Despite Newt’s own problems, he agrees. In his new adventure, Newt crosses paths with new and familiar faces and even ones from his childhood past. With Grindelwald on the loose, a desperate race takes place to seek that one person, supposedly hiding in Paris. Only time will tell what will come to pass for the greater good of the wizarding world.

So much storyline design and fitting visuals represent the creators’ hard work they put into the making of one fantastic movie. From the vicious, animated Zouwu to the fiery effects of Grindelwald’s “Protego Diabolica,” Warner Brothers does it again in pleasing the audience with vivid graphics, visuals, and animations.

Although the characters and their backstories may be a bit confusing at times, several of them recount their stories, each of them tugging a bit on the heartstrings. However, that does not discourage lighthearted themes and characters. Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger) the “No-Maj” returns in his comical, magic-loving role alongside Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol), who makes the audiences gasp due to a plot-twist. Johnny Depp reprises his role as Grindelwald, the infamous criminal wizard known for his deep bias against those without wizarding blood. Opposing Grindelwald is his old Hogwarts friend, Albus Dumbledore, who internally struggles with contending with his past friend. Several other new characters enter the story such as Leta Lestrange and Theseus Scamander. Last but certainly not least, Eddie Redmayne returns as the adventurous Magizoologist Newt Scamander, the hero of the Fantastic Beasts series.

My daughter and I can agree that Newt Scamander is by far the best Potterworld character because of his integrity and willingness to do what is right,” said Mrs. Pioch. Indeed, it seems like more and more movies contain characters who are not too genuine, so it is rather refreshing to watch a movie with an honest, incorrupt main character.

Of course, favorite characters are only half of it; several new magical beasts made their entrance to the wizarding world via the big screen such as the owl-like Augurey, the menacing Magatots, and exciting Kelpies. Tori Morris ‘23 added that “the baby Nifflers almost made me scream in my seat; they were so adorable!”

If you are a Potterhead or at least have basic knowledge of the wizarding world, this movie is a one hundred percent recommendation. However, watching the first Fantastic Beasts movie somewhat recently before viewing the newer is highly suggested. Otherwise, a lot of context is lost, and you might not understand what is going on enough to fully appreciate the movie. Regardless, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald undoubtedly takes audiences on a whirlwind ride full of adventures, mysteries, and, of course magic.