In a matter of days, Harry Potter fanatics will get the chance to revisit the Wizarding World at long last. Newt Scamander is slated to step back into theaters this month with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and it seems reviews for the sequel have finally surfaced online.
However, if you were hoping the reviews would help you decide to see the film, you need to brace yourself. The results are in, and it seems critics are pretty split over whether or not the sequel is an underwhelming one.
As you can see in the slides below, critics from trades like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have given their says on The Crimes of Grindelwald. While several outlets have praised the film for its sheer entertainment value, others have been quick to lambaste it for some seriously clunky storytelling. With such a big cast under its wing, the sequel has been accused of sloppily placing its wizards within a disjointed story, and critics haven't been impressed to say at the least.
At the time this article was written, The Crimes of Grindelwald has a respectable 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the score has yet to be certified. As reviews for the film trickle in, the aggregator will pull together a critical consensus on the Harry Potter successor, but things aren't looking great for the sequel right now. So far, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has the franchise's lowest rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a 74% score, and fans are hoping The Crimes of Grindelwald can match that at the very least. So, here's to hoping the sequel can accio enough praise in the coming days to reach the lofty threshold.
So, what do you think about these reviews? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!
According to the film's synopsis, The Crimes of Grindelwald "opens in 1927, a few months after Newt helped to unveil and capture the infamous Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. However, as he promised he would, Grindelwald has made a dramatic escape and has been gathering more followers to his cause—elevating wizards above all non-magical beings. The only one who might be able to stop him is the wizard he once called his dearest friend, Albus Dumbledore. But Dumbledore will need help from the wizard who had thwarted Grindelwald once before, his former student Newt Scamander. The adventure reunites Newt with Tina, Queenie, and Jacob, but his mission will also test their loyalties as they face new perils in an increasingly dangerous and divided wizarding world."
Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens on November 16th.
"Unfortunately, even the most meticulous world-building is only half the journey; you still have to populate that world with real characters and compelling stories, and it’s that second half of the equation that comes up missing in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” The noisiest, most rhythmless, and least coherent entry in the Wizarding World saga since Alfonso Cuarón first gave the franchise its sea legs in 2004, “Grindelwald” feels less like “The Hobbit” than a trawl through the appendixes of “The Silmarillion” — a confusing jumble of new characters and eye-crossing marginalia. Most of the surface pleasures of filmic Potterdom (the chiaroscuro tones, the overqualified character actors, the superb costuming, James Newton Howard’s warmly enveloping score) have survived intact, but real magic is in short supply." - Variety
"Even magic takes a little bit of planning, and in David Yates’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” both are in short supply. 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." - IndieWire
"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is another strong entry in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World saga. Rowling has improved upon the first Fantastic Beasts film by fleshing out her characters in a way that’s engaging, though not everybody receives as much attention. Both Johnny Depp and Eddie Redmayne are - forgive the pun - fantastic in their respective roles." - IGN
"There’s a menagerie of new beasts in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald and a fair few of them could legitimately be called ‘fantastic’. There’s also an enormous roll call of characters, and here’s where the fantasticness abates somewhat, but more on that later. The latest instalment of JK Rowling’s 5-part Harry Potter prequel is a magical adventure, an immersive dip back into the Wizarding World, packed with wonder and delight, which should elicit warm memories and Christmassy feels. Like a visit to Warner Bros ‘Making of Harry Potter’ Studio Tour, the set pieces, the stunning visuals, the world building and the sheer attention to detail will blow your socks off. But like the WB tour, there’s too many people and you don’t go there for the plot." - Den of Geek
"Eddie Redmayne’s shy, diffident character Newt Scamander — the Magizoologist with a menagerie of comically odd creatures in his suitcase — is no Harry Potter, at least not yet. But Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second in the projected five-movie franchise written by J.K. Rowling, displays enough of the author’s magical formula and Dickensian narrative power to make this sequel a huge step up from the middling Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016). The sequel has better and at times galvanizing special effects, a darker tone and a high-stakes battle between good and evil. Best of all, its characters are more vibrantly drawn, and tangled in relationships that range from delightful to lethal.
Crimes of Grindelwald also has some serious liabilities, the gravest being a misbegotten performance by Johnny Depp as the villain of the title. But unlike the first installment, which felt like a strained effort to extend Rowling’s brand, this engaging film has a busy, kinetic style of its own." - The Hollywood Reporter
"The biggest riddle in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is working out what on earth the film is actually about.
Describing what happens in this second of five planned instalments in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off franchise is a little easier: eccentric monster buff Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and the proto-fascist wizard leader Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) descending on Roaring Twenties Paris, along with other interested parties, in search of Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), a teenage orphan afflicted by a dark,..." - Telegraph UK
"Fewer beasts; more crimes. This second adventure in JK Rowling’s movie series about unworldly young magi-zoologist Newt Scamander, engagingly played by Eddie Redmayne, takes the inevitable darker and more sombre turn. The storyline is initially clotted with sneaky narrative about-turns, reactivating characters from the last film, rescuing them from apparent destruction or memory loss; there are unresolved mysteries and a general sense of disquieting forces and intricate implications that may take many films to sort out." - The Guardian
"The “Potter” saga is a rich, sprawling and beloved tale, and the inspired “Beasts” films are seemingly committed to filling in important nooks and crannies: Hufflepuffs and Slytherins alike will enjoy seeing Dumbledore as an emotionally troubled teacher decades before becoming Harry's eccentric mentor.
“Crimes” is missing some of the goofy appeal of the original “Beasts,” where stopping lovable creatures from making a mess of the Big Apple comprised much of the conflict. But the world keeps turning and the threats get bigger for heroic wand-wavers, even the resident magizoologist." - USA Today
"There’s a moment near the end of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald when I realized the scene I was watching could have been the second one in the movie. Instead, it was near the end, climactic and important. Yet it took so long to get here and everything that happened prior was so superfluous to the events unfolding, it dawned on me that the latest film in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World simply wasn’t up to par.
Directed by David Yates and written by Rowling, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second film in a proposed five-film series that began in 2016 with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That first movie had a lot of heavy lifting to do, introducing a whole new section of Rowling’s franchise complete with characters, mythologies, creatures, and more. It had so much to do, in fact, as long as it was entertaining, you could almost forgive it if it ultimately wasn’t about much." - Gizmodo
"As it turns out, the true crime of Grindelwald was wasting the audience’s time.
That shallowness is echoed by the film’s attempted political allegories. After a laughably short imprisonment, wizard-Hitler Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is back on the loose, and once again shoring up support for his crusade to rid the world of non-magical peoples (aka “no-majs” aka “can’t-spells”). Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who hems and haws about joining the fray, is told by his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) that he must “choose a side.” As true as it is that inaction is, in and of itself, a form of action, any attempted depth by Rowling (who wrote the screenplay) is scuttled by late-game twists that seem to ask the audience to empathize with the wizarding equivalent of Nazi sympathizers and collaborators." - Polygon