Crimes of Grindelwald’s Criminally Meandering Plot



Contains Spoilers

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” expands its story in many new, larger, and fantastic ways in the second film based on J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter’s wizarding world.

David Yates, director of six “Harry Potter” films and director of the previous “Fantastic Beasts,” adds to the tone and mood of the film and creates an environment that is nostalgic of J.K Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.

Picking up after the events in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the first scene of “The Crimes of Grindelwald” introduces Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and his haunting capabilities in a rain-filled jail break scene in New York City in the 1920s (prior to the events in the “Harry Potter” Series). Grindelwald similarly follows the “Pure-blood” motive of all baddies of the wizarding world and wants to purify the world.

Johnny Depp, who portrayed famous characters such as Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka, and Edward Scissorhands to name a few—in addition to being an Oscar-nominated actor—truly plays a villainous character that is interesting to follow.

Depp’s performance and emotion are supported by the addition of Jude Law, as a youthful Albus Dumbledore. Throughout the movie, we discover that Grindelwald and Dumbledore were best friends and have a blood pact with each other. Dumbledore refuses to help stop his old friend that is becoming a corrupt wizard while we as the audience also get a glimpse of their past life and secrets of the Dumbledore family.

Similarly, Law adds his flair of charm and charisma to contrast with the other cast members; however, the brilliant mind of the Dumbledore we know played by Michael Gambon and Richard Harris contrasts Law’s the young and energetic Dumbledore.

The original cast members that wiped the memories of all of New York City’s muggle population are back including Newt (Eddie Redmayne), Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob (Dan Fogler). And yes, he remembers everything that happened in the previous film.

The plot here focuses on Newt and the dilemma he faces: Is he willing to fight Grindelwald, or would he rather stay comfortable and tend to his fantastic beasts? Much of Newt’s story in the film revolves around his time as a student at Hogwarts, how he was besties with Dumbledore, and his love interest with fellow student, Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz).

The role of Newt expands on his interests and character; we can observe his awkward moments of wanting to care for his beasts but also the moral push to help Dumbledore and the Ministry of Magic. Grindelwald’s interest in Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) is also one of the driving forces of the film.

However, as mysterious as Credence is already, the movie does not expand very much on his presence and motive, other than him wanting to find out who he is. He seemingly continues from the previous film and acts as a young man that can be easily manipulated by whomever (Grindelwald). His role in the movie drastically makes more sense in the last five minutes of the movie with a dramatic plot twist.

Also, not explained very well is the addition of Nagini (Claudia Kim) in non-snake form, that travels around with her boyfriend Credence. The appearance and role of these two characters, possibly in the next movie in the series, must be expanded on, and hopefully their role will be explained and elaborated more.

The big plot revolving around Credence is ambiguous. More of his role in the movie is explained by piecing the story of Dumbledore and Grindelwald together. Not explicitly explained in the film—when they were best friends—Dumbledore and Grindelwald wanted to find the Deathly Hallows. Albus wanted to use the stone to be with his loved ones again, and Grindelwald wanted to bring rise to an army of death.

In addition to finding the Deathly Hallows, the Obscurus—or the other-worldly parasite ball—is what Grindelwald is after. Credence is in possession of this power, hence his role in the film. Foreshadowing the big plot twist at the end, Grindelwald also knows more than anyone else with regard to who Credence is.

Another large role in the movie comes from Leta Lestrange, which ties into the big twist of who Credence may be. In a storm, Lestrange had switched her baby brother Corvus with anothr baby as a child to relieve her of his crying. After the storm worsened, the ship sank, rushing everyone out of the boat, baby Corvus was left to die and the other baby was saved instead.

Lestrange knew that she was the cause for her brother’s death and this was revealed at the end of the movie. For the big plot twist, we hear from Grindelwald that the baby that was switched by Lestrange turns out to be Credence himself, and that his real name is Aurelius Dumbledore— brother to Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana Dumbledore.

Now, if this movie plot did not confuse you, you probably read the books and understand everything. After the last five minutes of the movie, it makes much more sense and provides a foundation of what the next movie may be about.

In all, the skills and personal charm of Depp, Law, Redmayne, and Kravitz as critical characters in the film should be praised as they are entertaining actors for the roles. However, “The Crimes of Grindelwald” held the mystery of what is happening far too long in addition to leaving the audience at the end with a major cliff hanger.

This movie was full of intriguing additions to the plot in relation to the Harry Potter world we know, but left viewers hanging too long and leaves too many unanswered questions to endure until the next addition of the series releases.

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