Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald

fantastic beasts the crimes of grindelwald

Title: Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald

Author: J.K. Rowling

Series: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, #2

Publisher: Little, Brown

Release Date: November 16th 2018


Three Stars

At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

This second original screenplay from J.K. Rowling, illustrated with stunning line art from MinaLima, expands on earlier events that helped shaped the wizarding world, with some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of both the books and films.

– Blurb courtesy of

This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“That’s all very well, Dumbledore, but, forgive me for asking, why can’t you go?”
“I can’t move against Grindelwald. It has to be you. Well, I don’t blame you, in your shoes I’d probably refuse too. It’s late. Good evening, Newt.”

After the events of New York Newt has been banned by the Ministry of Magic from travelling internationally. But when Credence resurfaces in Paris, searching for someone who can tell him where he came from, and when Grindelwald escapes from custody in New York Newt is recruited by Dumbledore to help stop his old friend.

I had high hopes for Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald. I loved the first film and while the reaction of the critics was mixed people I knew who’d seen it had loved it. However I ended up being really disappointed; the actions of some of the characters seemed to go against who they were in the first film and there was almost too much happening. Some of the twists came out of nowhere and were kind of robbed of their impact because the development surrounding them was weak.

“I say the Muggles are not lesser, but other. Not worthless, but of other value. Not disposable, but of a different disposition. Magic blooms only in rare souls. it is granted to those who live for higher things. Oh, and what a world we could make, for all of humanity.”

Together with Jacob Newt follows Tina through Paris as she tracks Credence. However as Credence searches for his family an old prophecy comes to light, and with it more people become determined to find the Obscurial, not all of them friendly. Meanwhile Grindelwald is gathering supporters, his seductive message drawing in the most unlikely people who are blinded to his true ambitions, people Newt trusts and loves.

The ending to this instalment in the Fantastic Beasts series was definitely explosive, and it leaves the overall story arc on a cliffhanger as the wizarding world is truly divided with good people having been manipulated by Grindelwald. However, the very last twist in this story ripped holes in the original Harry Potter series for me. Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald. Maybe Dumbledore did have another brother, but one Aberforth didn’t mention in Deathly Hallows even when he was talking to Harry about their younger sister? One who Rita Skeeter didn’t discover when she wrote Dumbledore’s tell-all biography? There was no hint of Credence in the original books and I find it too unbelievable now. End of spoilers.

…The Characters

“Do you know why I admire you, Newt? More, perhaps, than any man I know? You don’t seek power or popularity. You simply ask, is the thing right in itself? If it is, then I must do it, no matter the cost.”

Newt is determined to stay out of the war the Ministry of Magic is preparing to wage on Grindelwald, he doesn’t want to involve himself in their agenda but he is still determined to do what he believes is right which draws him to Paris anyways. The relationship Newt has with the other characters was my favourite part of this book. I loved seeing more interactions between him and Jacob, and although his relationship with Tina seems to have taken one step forward and ten back due to miscommunication between the two of them it’s clear they really care about one another.

“What d’you think I should say to her, if I see her?”
“Oh, well, it’s best not to plan these things. You know, you just say whatever comes to you in the moment.”
“She has eyes just like a salamander.”
“Don’t say that.”

Tina seems more very alone in this book, there’s tension between herself and Newt and herself and her sister Queenie and she seems set apart from them. She still wants to protect Credence like she tried to in the first book, and she seems like the only person who may be solely on his side. Jacob is still enchanted by magic, but in this story he sees a much darker side to it, sees the terror Grindelwald is inspiring. He’s loyal to those he loves, and no matter what he sees he’s determined to help Newt, to find and be with Queenie.

*Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald below*

We were introduced to plenty of new characters in this story, and unfortunately it’s these new characters where the development fell down the most for me. There was a lot of backlash when Nagini was announced as a character (I’m not going to go into that in this review) but it felt like she was barely a character in The Crimes of Grindelwald, her whole purpose seemed to be to stand at Credence’s side and look concerned. In fact, did she have any lines other than “Credence”?

“My brother’s marrying Leta, June the sixth. I’m supposed to be best man. Which is sort of mildly hilarious.”
“Does he think you’re here to win her back? Are you here to win her back?”
“No! I’m here to—”

Leta Lestrange was another character I felt was wasted in this instalment. Engaged to Newt’s brother it’s clear she has feelings for Newt, although I think she loved Theseus too, but at the end she sacrificed her life for them both to escape and just…why? Maybe it was to make amends for what she felt she did to her brother but at the end it seemed like her death’s sole purpose was to help Newt finally see reason and side with his brother against Grindelwald.

It was interesting seeing more of Grindelwald in this book, and as himself rather than masquerading as someone else. He seems to know exactly what to say to sway people to his side, to get them to believe in his vision of the future. However I find it hard to believe, no matter what he said, that Queenie would be of his supporters. I also find it hard to believe after how their relationship was portrayed in the first book that Tina wouldn’t notice her sister at Grindelwald’s gathering and go to her, to try and talk her out of whatever she was thinking.

*End of spoilers*

…The Setting

“Newt…what made those?”
“That is a Zouwu. It’s a Chinese creature. They are incredibly fast and incredibly powerful. They can travel a thousand miles in a day…and this one could take you from one part of Paris to the next in a single leap.”

I enjoyed seeing more of the magical world; while the original Harry Potter series was set solely in England the Fantastic Beasts stories seem to be travelling the world. In The Crimes of Grindelwald while we get small glimpses of New York and London the majority of the story is set in Paris. However, that said there were some locations I would have liked to see more of, mainly the Circus Arcanus (I have a weakness for circuses in books, especially magical ones) and the French version of the Ministry of Magic. I don’t think the development of either of those locations was rushed, just that we didn’t spend enough time there.

For a film and screenplay I was so excited for I was really let down by The Crimes of Grindelwald. It has its positives but I’d hoped for more from my favourite franchise and there were too many plot holes, too many wasted characters, and at the end of the day too much story crammed into too small a film for me to love this story as much as I did Fantastic Beasts

Here’s hoping the third instalment will be better again.

What did you think of Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

34 thoughts on “Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald

  1. I really liked your review and is in line with mine on many points! In particular, I agree that the weakest point of this script was the way the characters where written. They don’t have clearly outlined background stories, motives of action and even contradict themselves in the case of older characters (such as Queenie). I also don’t like the way Jacob is becoming a parody of himself (pretty much Ron’s fate in the movie adaptations); sure we need some comic relief, but that’s not all there is to him. If you are curious about my in-depth thoughts why don’t you check out my detailed review? I provokingly called it FB and the crimes of neglected characters lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed my review, and that you agreed with what I wrote too. I’m hoping the third film/screenplay will go back to what I loved about the first one. It feels like here they just tried to cram too much in one story and it was the character development that suffered. Jacob is my favourite character, alongside Newt, Tina and Queenie (I can’t choose just one favourite) so I’d love to see him become less of a parody again.
      Thanks for the link (I love the title, very apt) I’ll definitely check out your review. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah although the first month after the release they still lived in the illusion that it was a perfect movie. Then slowly the disappointments rose. Now they have postponed FB 3 and i godo hope that it will be worth the long wait

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think the problem was after the first one my hopes were too high and I ended up being disappointed by this one. :/ I felt like the cliffhanger should have been left out and developed over the course of the next film. Taking that ending out there would have still been more than enough in this film to keep me hooked.
      Thanks so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always enjoy experiencing more of the wizarding world tbh. It’s a shame this was a bit of a letdown though. I still haven’t seen this (I don’t plan to read it tbh) but I have pretty low expectations at this point, given a lot of the reviews. Anyway, awesome review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Beth!
    Wow that’s an amazing analysis of the movie and screenplay. I went into this movie without having watched the first one, so for the most part I was feeling, “huh? what just happened?” Lol, but I do know what you mean in that there is too many things happening in this movie and a lot of characters who aren’t well developed (such as Leta and Nagini.) As much as I am happy that there is an Asian character in this movie, I wished that there was more substance to her character.
    Newt’s character and relationships is the highlight of the movie for me as well. I think I will continue watching Fantastic Beasts just because of Newt haha. I don’t know if this is true or not, but apparently there is talk about making Newt less of a focus in the upcoming movies? If that is the case then I would be very sad!! 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Sophie. Yeah I imagine a few of the backstories would have been hard to keep up with but I think the overall pacing of the film and how much happened didn’t help either. Sometimes I was like “wait, what was that?!” and I had seen the first film.
      In the case of Nagini it’s great having an Asian character but based on her role and development in this film it feels like she was out in so JK Rowling could rock a box and say she’d include representation in her books, and in my mind that doesn’t count as representation.
      Ha, yeah I’ll continue watching the films because of Newt, and Tina and Jacob who were the only three characters who I think were actually well written in this instalment.
      What what?! No, you can’t have Fantastic Beasts with less Newt?! Unless it means more Jacob and Tina, that’s the only substitution I’ll accept. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah the movie definitely felt rushed and a lot wasn’t explained. I thought it was just me but I’ve been hearing this from other friends like you who have seen the first movie!
        I do see what you mean about Nagini being incorporated just for the sake of having a diverse character! In the future films, I’m hoping that she will have more personality and play a more central role. What is the point of having a character who doesn’t contribute to the plot? She might as well have stayed in her snake form lol.
        Yes I like Newt, Tina and Jacob as well! Jacob is a funny dude and he was quite entertaining to watch haha 🙂
        The rumour about Newt is from a youtube video that I watched haha. (In case you’re interested: Apparently some film critics think that Newt is too soft and not “masculine” enough? Which I think is bogus because just like how there should be more strong female MCs, there should also be male MCs who are gentle and kind.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The first movie was amazing, and compared to it the second was just not. After I saw it me and my friend had about a fifteen minute rant session about all the things that could have been done better. Basically my review as a discussion between the two of us.
        I’m hoping so, but I feel like after how she was used in this film I don’t really have high hopes. Like if you were going to use her character in a big way why not start in the first film she’s in, or add hints. Besides after Leta I don’t trust them with Nagini.
        Jacob is my favourite, every scene with him and Newt was wonderful,
        I will definitely check out that video, thanks for the link, but god that sucks. Why does every male character need to be “masculine”? If they change Newt or don’t include him as much in the films I swear I will riot!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Definitely! I feel like Nagini has been a minor character so far. Hopefully she’ll do more than just stand around in the next movies but we’ll see :/
        Haha yeah, Jacob is a fun character to watch and I love the dynamics between him and Newt!
        Yeah. I would definitely be sad if they take away Newt from the movies 😦 Hoping that that is just a rumour and that it wouldn’t happen!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I 200% agree with your review here and I was quite disappointed by this installment,too. I feel like the ending (keeping it vague for people reading comments to avoid spoilers) was too unbelievable, too and left me confused and I agree with Nagini as well, I wish she had gone through more development and had more attention towards her, too, because her character is so interesting, it deserved more, I think.
    Lovely review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it just didn’t live up to how epic the first film was did it? I loved Fantastic Beasts but The Crimes of Grindelwald tried to fit too much on one film (like that ending). I get they wanted to end it on a cliffhanger/epic twist reveal but it just felt rushed and unreal.
      Maybe there’ll be more for her in the next film, but after this one I feel like if they were going to do Nagini’s character justice it should have been in the first film she was introduced in.
      Thanks Marie. 🙂 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t finished the HP series just yet, so this is a little hard to follow, but it’s kind of disappointing that it sounds like this wasn’t the best read and that it kinda interferes with the original HP storyline. I saw the first movie and enjoyed it well enough but I put off the second one for a while after all the questionable reviews. Eventually I’ll get around to it, but I think it won’t hurt to wait, especially after reading your review lol. But anyways, lovely review. So sorry both the film and book didn’t really live up to expectation :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I almost feel like you’d enjoy this movie more given you haven’t finished the original series. There are just so many plot holes it’s hard to relate The Crimes of Grindelwald to the original books. I’d still say see this film (or read the screenplay, or both) but maybe go in with low expectations. As it was I wish I’d paid more attention to some of the mixed reviews. :/
      Thanks Azia, and yeah I’m hoping the third one gets back on track and is good again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I skimmed your review as to avoid spoilers, I’m sorry to hear it wasn’t the best. I know we’ve talked about it, but reading your review makes me want to read and see the film a little less, I’m NO way saying your review was bad, it was very good! … I just don’t want to be disappointed, you know :\ But at least I’m prepared to be disappointed 😛
    I know I’m still going to, I found a theatre that’s still showing it so I may try to go next week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry I completely get what you mean. I feel like if I’d have read more mixed reviews I would have been a little hesitant about this one too but as it was all my friends who saw it had loved it so I thought I would too. I’d still say go and see the movie, maybe just go with slightly lowered expectations and you may find you enjoy it more than you’ll think. As it was I loved the first film and with this second I couldn’t look past the plot holes. :/
      I hope you get to see it, and I hope you enjoy it somewhat too. Either way you’ll have to let me know what you do think when you’ve seen it. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, okay good! 🙂 That’s true, the lower the expectations, the better it may be!

        I thought I would be able too… I read it wrong and it’s not playing in a theatre in my province anymore, I mixed it up 😦 Why do places have to have similar names? Anyways, when I do see it I will let you know! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think a lot of people were disappointed with this movie, and felt it didn’t keep true to the Harry Potter world and backstory… I mean, I’m still going to watch the movie (when I get round to it), but I’m expecting to be annoyed by it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah I’d still say watch the movie. I’ve still pre-ordered the DVD and I’ll watch again myself. I think if you go in with low hopes you may be pleasantly surprised; one of my friends who wasn’t a massive fan of the first film loved this second one. Personally I just couldn’t enjoy it as much because I was so aware of the plot holes and problematic areas.


      1. See… I know that’s going to bother me… I had a problem with it pretty much from the trailer, so I read your review and thought “yep sounds about right…” I think you’re right – best to go in with low expectations!

        Liked by 1 person

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