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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts 2 looks great but has a cluttered, hard to follow story.

Reviewed by on Nov 16, 2018
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld’s review of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald lists exciting visual effects amid an over-complicated plot. Read our movie review to learn more about the sequel.

By: Lynn Barker

In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, we are in 1927 New York and imprisoned evil wizard Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), is being transferred to answer for his crimes in Europe but he masterminds an escape from a flying coach. Hearing this,  Professor Dumbledore (Jude Law) reasons that Grindelwald will be searching for Obscurius wizard Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) in Paris so he sends Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) there where Auror Tina (Katherine Waterston) and others are also looking for Credence. The resulting chaos will divide the wizarding world.

The Crimes of Grindelwald Trailer


At the end of the first film, the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander. Now, while being transferred to Europe, Grindelwald escapes custody and starts gathering followers, only some of whom are aware of his true agenda: to turn the world over to only pure-blood wizards and witches. No muggles or non-magical beings will survive, unless they are slaves to the elite. Meanwhile, in London, Newt is trying to accept that his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) is engaged to Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz).

Newt talks to Theseus while Leta looks onNewt talks to Theseus while Leta looks onCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The Hearing and Assignment

Newt has been unable to travel internationally (since his actions in the last film) and he appeals to the local magic council to lift his travel ban. They will if he will kill Credence who survived the destruction of the last film.

Credence wonders who he really isCredence wonders who he really isCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Credence will be too powerful and might team up with Grindelwald. Newt refuses and walks out all while Grindelwald and cohorts are setting up shop in Paris. Dumbledore contacts Newt and asks him to go to Paris to find Credence. He is a danger to himself and others. Dumbledore can’t go himself. He says he can’t fight Grindelwald and doesn’t explain why. Newt reluctantly agrees.

Dumbledore sends Newt to ParisDumbledore sends Newt to ParisCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Romantic Complications

While Newt works with baby nifflers and handles an underwater  beastie called a Kelpie, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and love Queenie (Alison Sudol) have rediscovered each other (the forgetting spell on Jacob is broken) and want to marry. Newt learns that Tina has been distant and cold to him because she thinks he is engaged to Leta Lestrange when his brother Theseus is the one marrying her! Jacob and Queenie argue and she goes off alone planning to go to her sister. Tina is in France looking for Credence and Newt takes Jacob there, both men hoping to find their girls while Newt searches for Credence.

Jacob and Newt hope to find their ladiesJacob and Newt hope to find their ladiesCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Freak Show

Tina goes through a magical statue into a world of wizards where a freak show is going on. Locked up there as performers are Credence and the girl he loves Nagini (Claudia Kim). She turns into a snake and escapes, so does a lion/dragon-like Zouwu beastie as well as Credence.

The Freak ShowThe Freak ShowCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The show’s owner tells Tina that Credence is looking for his mom and another auror called Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) is also in town looking for Credence. Grindelwald finds Credence and tells him he is the key to his plan to have pure bloods rule the world. Can Credence kill Dumbledore for him?

Nagini comforts CredenceNagini comforts CredenceCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Tracking the Sisters and “Mom”

Newt magically tracks Tina into the freak show world with the help of nifflers while Jacob sees Queenie and follows her into the French Ministry of Magic where she is trying to find Tina who is “on a case”. They can’t help her. She sees Jacob but is kidnapped by Grindelwald’s assistants. Meanwhile, Nagini and Credence go to someone supposed to be his mom but turns out she is only a servant who took him to be raised by the evil Mrs. Barebone not knowing what she was like. The killer sent by the American magic council blows up the apartment. The servant is killed but Credence and Nagini escape.

Queenie is kidnaped by GindelwaldQueenie is kidnaped by GindelwaldCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

More Than Brothers

While Newt unites with Tina, encounters the runaway Zouwu and lures it into his case, Theseus and Leta Lestrange are at Hogwarts meeting with Dumbledore. Why did he send Newt to Paris? Why is he protecting Credence? He’s a dangerous Obscurial wizard. Why didn’t Dumbledore go fight Grindelwald himself?

Newt, Theseus, Tina and others at HogwartsNewt, Theseus, Tina and others at HogwartsCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Dumbledore admits the two were once “closer than brothers” and swore a blood oath never to harm each other. We see Leta relive her unhappy childhood at Hogwarts. Only Newt befriended her. She has a “worst fear” that involves water. Dumbledore and Leta commiserate as both have lost a sibling; his sister and her brother Corvis.

Leta Lestrange at her old Hogwarts deskLeta Lestrange at her old Hogwarts deskCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Down to the Wire

Newt and Tina go to the Ministry where ancestral records are kept. The secret to Credence’s true identity is supposed to be in a box there, but is it? They must find Credence, stop Grindelwald from holding a rally of his followers that night and launching his pure bloods only campaign. Queenie is still around Grindelwald and Jacob can’t rescue her. Newt finally tells Tina he is not engaged to Leta or anybody. They reconcile. Who actually is Credence? Is he related to anyone we know? Can the good guys save Credence and get Queenie back or will Grindelwald use both of them to help him destroy the wizarding world they know?

Grindelwald casts a spellGrindelwald casts a spellCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Wrapping Up

Although colorful with plentiful, eye-popping SPFX critters and magic, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is chocked full of too much story. Too many love interest side plots and backstory origin tales break up any desperation to stop Grindelwald that might have been developed. Thus, the film sags in the middle and never really builds any race against time urgency to keep audience members on the edge of their seats.

The Zouwu at first appears unfriendlyThe Zouwu at first appears unfriendlyCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The mystery of Credence’s birth is solved and a few characters do unexpected things. We’re sure this happens to drive the story forward into the next three movies in the series but happenings in this film make it confusing and non-stand-alone for those who have only seen the Potter movies and not read the books. The movie is even more baffling for newbies to the Fantastic Beasts franchise. In short, it’s a beautiful mess!

Nagini hopes to save CredenceNagini hopes to save CredenceCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The Jacob character, wonderfully played by Dan Fogler, provides some comic relief that this dark film needs but we’re right back to the “end of the world” scenario all too quickly. Eddie Redmayne’s Newt is a little more “take charge” this time around and that is nice. Johnny Depp as Grindelwald is…well, weird. That can be good or bad depending upon how you like your villains.

Grindelwald at his rallyGrindelwald at his rallyCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

We have to rate this movie on its own merits and not think of it as only a chapter in the series of films. As it exists, we can only award three stars.

The Crimes of Grindelwald Movie Rating: 3

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald PosterFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in theaters now.

What is Your Opinion?

Write a comment below or write your own review on your Kidzworld profile page. Are you as excited about this wizarding world film series as the original Potter series? Who are you rooting for in the story? What is your fave magical creature, etc. etc. Lots to share with other Kidzworld visitors. Get to it!