By Alexis Schatten, Managing Editor
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, came out in theatres Nov. 16, and while the movie made $62 million at the box office in its opening weekend, it hardly lived up to the expectations set by the first film in the Harry Potter spin-off series.
Since the moment the first trailer had been released, I’d been wary of the movie due to its reliance on so many different characters with so many seemingly separate plots that, while designed to tie together at the end, failed to do so.
The first movie in the series, much like the series it originated from, focuses on only a few characters and their stories merge elegantly, ending in the standard battle sequence and bittersweet closing scenes we’ve come to associate with movies in the Harry Potter universe. This sequel, though, switches between stories with weak links to each other that don’t fit into the set story J.K. Rowling herself created over twenty years ago.
If the whole plot had been the rising tensions during Grindelwald’s attempted rise to power, it would’ve made sense. However, Grindelwald wasn’t even in the top five main characters (not that I’m that disappointed because of the poor casting for the character, but I digress).
Newt Scamander was still one of the main protagonists, despite his story having been wrapped up nicely in the previous movie, but this time, his main goal was gaining the affection of Tina Goldstein, the woman he left behind in the previous movie. The Harry Potter franchise has always had its fair share of romance, but to make romance such a big plot point in a movie about wizards in the middle of preventing an actual war is pointless. There’s so much more that can be done instead, and making Scamander chase Goldstein to Paris, and even shoehorning an awkward exchange between the two into what should’ve been an important scene relating to the actual plot, is just lazy writing.
The movie was messy overall, and really, it was rather boring. You can only sit through a movie with a too-dense plot for so long before you’re checking the time and guessing at how much longer before the movie will end, and I spent the last half hour doing so.