‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ Gets a Rotten Tomatoes Score

Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has debuted on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with a 56% “rotten.”

The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel has thus far counted 25 reviews — 14 “fresh,” 11 “rotten” — giving the second entry in the Harry Potter prequel-slash-spinoff franchise an average 6.5 out of 10 rating.

Ahead of an expected fluctuation as more reviews are counted, The Crimes of Grindelwald is the only entry in the Wizarding World franchise thus far to earn a “rotten” score.

2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, the conclusion of the sprawling saga that starred Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, is the highest-rated at 96%, trailed by 2004’s Prisoner of Azkaban at 90%.

Goblet of Fire ranks third at 88%, followed by Half-Blood Prince (84%), Chamber of Secrets (82%), Sorcerer’s Stone (80%), Deathly Hallows — Part 1 (78%), and Order of the Phoenix (77%).

Grindelwald’s predecessor, released this time two years ago, launched the spinoff franchise with a 74% “certified fresh.”

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling pens the planned five-film saga, to be directed by franchise veteran David Yates.

That collaboration between Rowling and Yates “seems to have actually worsened with this movie,” writes Justin Chang of the LA Times, who adds Grindelwald is “an excruciating bore” capable of making even the most die-hard of Rowling fans “weep in frustration” as the followup lacks in magic and is instead “somehow both hectic and leaden, a thing of exhausting, pummeling mediocrity.”

Kate Erbland of IndieWire writes Grindelwald is bogged down by an excessive amount of characters and storylines, and the portions of the plot surrounding a younger Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) are under serviced in favor of a “charisma-free” Johnny Depp as the titular dark wizard.

David Griffin of IGN praises Grindelwald as a strong follow-up, pointing to its “great performances,” while Caryn James of The Hollywood Reporter calls it an “engaging film” with a “busy, kinetic style of its own.”

Law is a highlight as a warm and understanding Dumbledore who is both faithful to the previous portrayals by Michael Gambon and Richard Harris without channeling the performances of those respective actors; Depp, meanwhile, is criticized for grandstanding in “one more gimmicky, costume-driven performance, with one more plummy accent” — a routine that “grew tiresome many movies ago.”

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The film drew mixed reactions on social media following first fan screenings.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens November 16.