A marked improvement over the first instalment, The Crimes of Grindelwald moves the story forward and develops the characters further.
I was not a fan of the first Fantastic Beasts movie. I thought it was like the pilot episode of a TV show, where the showrunners try to just give you a taste of what's to come, without showing their hands too much. That makes sense for a TV show, but not necessarily for a movie franchise. TV watchers only need to wait another week to see the second episode, but movie goers may need to wait for a few years. In the era of short attention spans, making a movie that is merely a teaser of what is yet to come, is definitely a risky move. Marvel movies, under Kevin Feige's vision work so well because they are cognizant of their audience. Each movie can be a starting point into the franchise, and gives the audience a standalone story.
Going back to The Crimes of Grindelwald, this time around, the director doesn't need to waste time to introduce us to the main players. The film starts with a thrilling chase sequence, that was almost the highlight of the movie in my opinion. Another highlight was Johnny Depp as the titular character. He was more menacing and convincing than Ralph Fiennes' Voldemort in the main Potter saga. Grindelwald's sales pitch was appealing too. Of course, his honesty and good faith are questionable, but his reference to the events in early and mid 20th century (i.e., world wars I and II) was effective in making his point about non-magical people (muggles) being incapable of leading the world.
Jude Law had the tall task of making the role of Dumbledore his own, and I believe he succeeded! Dumbledore is scarcely used in this movie (and also in the main Harry Potter story). Maybe that adds to the mystery of this character and makes him more interesting.
J.K. Rowling's plan is to conclude this story in the fifth movie, so it may be hard to judge the individual part while we are waiting for the whole. There are many flaws and logical inconsistencies with the whole Wizarding World, but I still have faith in J.K. Rowling's imagination and ability to pull this off. This instalment on its own, however, is entertaining enough to justify the price of admission. I'd give it a 8/10.
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