Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018): ‘The Magic Continues?’ – A Film Review



So what became a world-wide phenomenon with Harry Potter, went from the books to the films quite successfully and after the series was over it couldn’t stop. Enter Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and we’re off again, following with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, this time looking at a time before Harry Potter and in the 1920s. Magic is still a secret world and, as the title suggests, there are many fantastic beasts also within this world and we also have our new series of books/films. These fantasy films have a huge and devoted fan base, to rival that of Star Wars, Star Trek or The Lord of the Rings, but after the success of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and his considerable experience with the Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts series, David Yates was in a good position to continue with this film.


The Style of Magic

Perhaps the hardest and most successful aspect of these films comes in the forms of magic displayed and the creatures that are animated before us. The CGI looks amazing and they are given a sense of vitality that is relatively unique to each creature. There are unfortunately a few exceptions to this but they are few and far between. Helping this, the cinematography likes to offer these creatures on a plate, with big long shots to help us to take in the scenery and movements. Despite this Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald tends to rely on similar shots and chaotic editing, which can confuse or bore sequences. In particular, moments with creatures that have long tails or flowing hair, these shots will offer a chaotic movement in the background often with a ‘3-D-esque’ foreground. Unfortunately, these shots are relied upon and more variety would help the action sequences a bit further.


The Players

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald features a rather amazing cast and because of this, they generally keep the film interesting, well performed and memorable. Particularly, Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore), Johnny Depp (Grindelwald), Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein), Claudia Kim (Nagini) and Katherine Waterston (Tina) in particular, whilst Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) still gives his irritating performance. They do all manage to hold the story though, which also suffers from the ensemble cast and pacing issues for a large part of the first half of the film. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald builds anticipation for what is actually happening as events unfold, but because the audience isn’t exactly aware it’s harder to get invested until much later in the film. As the moments leading to the end start to take form, we’re treated to a lot of exposition but audiences can finally invest themselves in the story and then moments that reflect the time period start to finally key in the themes of the film.



In spite of the ensemble, the pacing and the momentary lapses in cinematography and special effects, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald remains an entertaining film and with its various nods to the Harry Potter universe it certainly is a crowd-pleaser. Hitting a little like the Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back of the Fantastic Beasts saga, there is certainly an anticipation for further films. A great thing at this stage as a further 3 films are planned for beyond Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. David Yates seems to be crafting a satisfactory vision for J. K. Rowling’s world, further developing this fan-base and keeping the magic very much alive.



Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes his confinement, whilst Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) secretly sets Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) on a quest as he cannot as he is under watch. It would seem that the people of the world are fearing the return of Grindelwald and his underground organisation.




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (d. David Yates USA/UK 2016)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (d. David Yates USA/UK 2018)

Harry Potter (d. Chris ColumbusAlfonso CuarónMike NewellDavid Yates,  USA/UK 20012002200420052007200920102011)

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back  (d. Irvin Kershner USA 1980)


Further Reading

Official Site

Interview with Cast

Interview with David Yates

Interview with J. K. Rowling

Behind the Scenes

Easter Eggs

Bloopers and Funny Moments


If you liked this

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – A Film Review

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018): ‘Style Over Substance’ – A Film Review

Pacific Rim Uprising (2018): ‘Too Many Threads’ – A Film Review

Black Panther (2018): ‘Marvel’s Black Superhero Film’ – A Film Review


This was an analytical review of….


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (d. David Yates USA/UK 2018)



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