Why “Crimes of Grindelwald” Left Me Wanting More
SPOILERS AHEAD: PROCEED WITH CAUTION
November 16 marked the official release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in theaters worldwide, and let me just tell you, I think my jaw dropped during a solid 2/3 of the film. It was a roller-coaster ride from start to finish, and I honestly can’t even recall half of what shocked me because so much did. I am consistently amazed by the storylines and plot twists that JKR comes up with, and Crimes of Grindelwald was no exception. That being said, I did leave the theater largely in a state of confusion and disappointment. Here’s why:
With the final trailer release, we got a hint at the magnitude of actress Claudia Kim’s role in the film. It seemed like her character would be incredibly prominent, and that was not the case. Her main on-screen moment was the exact one shown in the trailer, and as one of the larger surprises in the movie, I almost wished we hadn’t been told who she was beforehand. The majority of the film had Nagini just in the background, mainly there to support Credence. I was eager to see a woman of color playing an important role in the franchise (which Zoë Kravitz also contributed to), and although there’s still time for that, Crimes of Grindelwald left something to be desired in that respect.
I was also underwhelmed with the so-called “fantastic beasts” in Crimes of Grindelwald. Although there was some well-deserved Niffler screen time, I was disappointed with the very short cameo by the baby Nifflers. I love those gold-hoarding fluffballs just as much as the next person, but I personally think that JKR’s greatest strength is in her creation of creatures – or assimilation of already existing creatures into the wizarding world – and I just wanted more of all the beasts. We got to know a zouwu fairly well, so I can’t complain there, but the rest of the creatures were just shown in small, insignificant bursts. I do, however, have to admit that I would definitely have a Thestral-drawn carriage if I were a witch. I don’t think it gets fiercer than that.
The more we delve into the history of well-known Harry Potter characters, the more the canon timeline gets fuzzy. As a self-proclaimed canon purist who did not originally intend to watch any of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Crimes of Grindelwald left me more nervous than I expected. With the insane reveal at the end of the movie that Credence is a Dumbledore, I found myself scratching my head trying to figure out how that happened – if true – and how there were seemingly no hints at this for the 20-something years we’ve spent analyzing Albus. I also felt there were a couple of significant, convenient cop-outs in the film, and I know that JKR can (and has) come up with better. Jacob just happened to remember most of what happened in the first Fantastic Beasts film because he had primarily positive memories. Credence just happened to survive imploding into smithereens when we all thought he was gone (with little to no explanation). And maybe I’m just a Queenie who has trouble understanding Brits sometimes, but there were multiple instances during the screening that I had to lean over to my friend next to me to ask what had been mumbled.
Overall, I think that Crimes of Grindelwald will be one of those in-between films that you don’t watch unless you’re having a marathon. Sure, it’s exciting right now when we’re left with cliff-hangers and plot twists, but I don’t anticipate it becoming a fan favorite once the entire franchise is complete. It was exciting and worth a watch, but I’m not sure that it lived up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.