The early reviews for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald are coming in, and they’re not good. It appears J.K. Rowling‘s expanded Wizarding World has run out of magic, as critics are calling this latest adventure ineffective, weak, messy, and even pointless. This is not the kind of reaction fans were hoping for, and doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series. Read our Crimes of Grindelwald review roundup below.
The Fantastic Beasts series is likely critic-proof – Harry Potter fans will flock to this movie, and its sequels, no matter what. But the early word on The Crimes of Grindelwald appears to be on the negative side – a far-cry from the first Fantastic Beasts film, which sits at 74% fresh. As of now, The Crimes of Grindelwald is rotten at 56%, but that grade could always improve over time. Here’s what some critics are saying.
Over at Mashable, Angie Han writes that Grindelwald is “is long on puzzles, but short on reasons to care about solving them,” adding:
“Crimes of Grindelwald feels half-assed on every level, from the character motivations to the world-building. There’s nothing specific or special about this version of Paris; you’ll find a more magical portrayal of the city on any 99-cent postcard. Our returning heroes feel less familiar than they did when they were introduced in the last film, thanks to a rash of baffling decisions.”
The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd says that Grindelwald only exists to milk the Harry Potter band, and that the film is:
“Less a necessary new chapter in this ongoing story than the movie-shaped equivalent of memorabilia, or maybe just an affordable multiplex alternative to whisking the whole family off to the Wizarding World area of Universal Studios.”
The L.A. Times’ Justin Chang calls the sequel “an excruciating bore just barely enlivened by stray glimpses of Hogwarts,” and continues:
““Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is enough to make J.K. Rowling fans weep in frustration, provided they can even keep their eyes open. Presumably Rowling, her fellow producers and the top brass at Warner Bros. were thinking about those fans — meaning their capacity for pleasure and enchantment, not just their pocketbooks — when they decided to launch a series of prequels to their justly celebrated Harry Potter cycle.”
Russ Fischer at Birth.Movies.Death thinks the sequel is a little more than a rehash:
“It’s the big-screen version of a Netflix series, an ineffective rehash with all the bells and whistles of the Harry Potter movies, but almost none of the magic that made them work.”
IndieWire’s Kate Erbland writes that the film is overstuffed:
“In it second outing, the cracks are starting to show in J.K. Rowling’s much-hyped followup series to “Harry Potter,” a franchise that is at the mercy of slapdash planning (these films are cobbled together from various pieces of “Wizarding World” material, not single novels) and the kind of higher-up decree that promised five films (five!) before the first one hit theaters. It’s a lot of time to fill, and while the second film in the franchise nudges its narrative forward, it’s at the expense of a bloated, unfocused screenplay.”
It’s not all bad news. USA Today’s Brian Truitt provided the film with a positive review, stating:
“As much as the new sequel bridges gaps to various “Potter” lineages and personalities, it also ties into real-world history in intriguing fashion.”
And NY Post critic Johnny Oleksinski says the film is an improvement over the first, writing:
“[The] much-improved sequel, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” wisely leaves the States for a more otherworldly London and Paris, all the while discovering the heart and drive of this new series.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens November 16, 2018.
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