Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second entry in this Harry Potter prequel series and it feels basically just like that. A stepping stone towards later releases in a set franchise, it doesn't try to stand on its own. It still has a number of interesting moments if you're invested in this property, but it doesn't tell its own standalone story which can be annoying. It was a large selection of nostalgia mixed with surprise as certain names were revealed throughout.
This might not have been as appealing to someone that isn't well acquainted with the franchise as the theater was a mix of gasps and silence during the few moments throughout. The general narrative was all about heritage and various individuals trying to find out how they're connected. It's actually overwhelming at times as it doesn't allow you to slowly solve who anyone is with each of these reveals being surprises. This comes across as almost tiring to watch, but it still is a fun and darker adventure in the franchise.
Some time has passed since the events of the first film and it takes a bit to get everyone back together. Aside from just being a movie about finding out the heritage of individuals, it's also one based around picking sides in what will be an upcoming war. They aim to provide some levels of propaganda in terms of the darker side in order to sway people to their cause, it'll be a growing conflict throughout the series I imagine.
Again, coming to that point where this is merely a stepping stone towards future installments. This entry still does deliver on that charm you expect with some fantastic creatures along the way. Some of the best moments were seeing Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) awkwardly move around dealing with the various creatures he handles, and people too. There was of course the addition of Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore and this was the first full film featuring Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. I didn't mind either of them honestly, I was quite worried about the latter after the reveal last film but it was fine.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is largely fine, it just contends with being too much about what comes next as opposed to trying to be a standalone film. You really couldn't watch this without seeing the last one and in the grand scheme of the films to come I believe this one will most likely be forgotten. It wasn't bad, it was just alright.
The acting was fine, the characters from the first movie were back again with an expanded roster. It had many grim and dark moments whether that was with what was going on or just the scenery in general. This was all about selecting sides, getting things in motion and revealing various surprises in regards to the heritage of characters. There was some nice fan service for finding out just where everyone belongs though the general viewing audience may not care too much.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by Warner Brothers