iReview | FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Steeped deeply in mythology the Wizarding World of Harry Potter continues to evolve and expand with the latest chapter of the prequel series unraveling much of what we thought we knew about one fo the greatest wizards of all time!

Appropriately enough FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald begins in the shadow confines of Gellert Grindelwald’s cell! The villain who was revealed in only the final moments of the previous film as played by Johnny Depp is about to make one of the most daring prison breaks in cinematic history! High over the New York Cit skyline of the 1920s, the magic-wielder (with some help from his devotees) escapes his captors, alerting the Wizarding World that the largely menacing Grindelwald is on the loose.

Back in London the Ministry of Magic (along with the rest of the world’s leading magical agencies) are aware the if Grindelwald isn’t immediately captured, their very existence may be revealed throwing the delicate balance between non-magical beings and wizards into chaos. Everyone has agreed, Grindelwald is chasing after one thing — Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller). The mystery surrounding Credence, exactly who or what he is, has fallen on the purview of one man, Newt Scamander played by Eddie Redmayne.

Newt is recruited by his one-time teacher Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to locate Grindelwald and intercept the dark wizard, before he can set in motion a plan, but what is Grindelwald really after? As Credence follows the trail of his origins to France, through a series of flashbacks and introduction of new characters, including Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange, a former classmate of Newt’s, who as the name would imply has some skeletons in her closet — the name of Lestrange will become darkly connected to followers of He Who Cannot Be Named.

Rowling’s World

The stakes have certainly been raised in Crimes of Grindelwald and the film’s screenwriter J.K. Rowling the creator of this entire mythology, has delivered onto the film’s fandom a story that will far more than sedate this deeper dive into the legends and “lead-up” to the contemporary timeline of the Potter franchise. Director David Yates has become the most visionary filmmaker and most capable mind to elaborate on the vision Rowling has placed on the page. The pair have pushed the envelope in this new chapter, revealing a far more “beautiful” magical habitat.

Even familiar locations, Hogwarts gets revisited in this feature as do some of its more illuminating faculty members, as the story continues to develop and more is explored about the connection between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Fans of the books have known all along that the pair had a far more intimate relationship as paramours before finding themselves adversaries. Now Credence stands between them, a powerful player that holds a secret and may tip the outcome of the pending war in favor of Grindelwald.

In Grindelwald’s defense, he only wants to ensure a future where both magical and non-magical beings can live side by side, but with muggles constantly in a power struggle and threatening to plunge the world into another World War, Grindelwald and his followers may have no other choice but to seat control over mankind, putting witches and wizards at the top of the food chain. Politics have always played into the drama of the Wizarding World, and Crimes of Grindelwald is able to extrapolate those complex themes and give its audience far more than the previous film.

In The End

By the time our heroes confront Grindelwald and finally track down Credence, it appears that everyone has fallen under the spell of the charismatic wizard who is promising a new world order. Demanding his followers spread the gospel, Grindelwald takes on his world be captors on his own, and convinces Credence in the end to follow him! Grindelwald reveals to Credence that he is not a Lestrange as we are lead to believe, switched at birth by a shameful act that has haunted Leta all her life, but is actually the brother of Albus Dumbledore, Aurelius.

Though we’ve never heard of this Dumbledore sibling before, at least not until this moment and what becomes of him in the future, his identity is all but confirmed as he unleashes his miraculous power under the watchful eye of a phoenix — the mystical birds have always been known to present themselves to a Dumbledore especially in their most desperate moment of need — and one has chosen to stand with Credence, even as Grindelwald plans his next steps. The revelation may have come as a shock to the diehard purists, but is very much inline with Rowling’s style.

The author popularized tricking her readership, who had become accustomed to pursuing all sorts of theories all of their own, but if Rowling had down anything especially well during the run of the original release of Potter books and films, it was pulling the rug out from under her fans. This film is far more encouraging than its predecessor proved and in every way promotes what the audience has been hoping all along, a perpetuation of the Harry Potter franchise and revisits into the Wizarding World full of magic and intrigue. 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in theatres now and directed by David Yates and stars Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law and John Depp. This film is Rated PG-13

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