The first film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had Newt Scamander, witches Tina and Queenie and muggle Jacob trying to save a young but powerful man from being both destroyed by his power and that of being a pawn by a wicked wizard. In the end, it appeared the young man, Creedence, was dead and the villainous Grindelwald was revealed.
The sequel picks up with an action packed escape by Grindelwald before returning to Newt Scamander who is trying to get his right to leave the country reinstated. The Ministry of Magic reveals that Creedence is alive and well. He is hiding in Paris trying to find out who he really is. He has fallen in love with a young woman. Tina and another Auror trying to catch Creedence (but with different goals). Jacob has regained his memory and he and Queenie are an item, but after a fight, Queenie runs off to Paris to find Tina, but Grindelwald is in Paris looking for Creedence…confused yet?
I actually quite liked the first film. I enjoyed the introduction of a decent and prominent “muggle” character. I felt the four leads had a nice chemistry. I was sympathetic to Tina’s attempts do things all by the book, but also her sympathy for Creedence in the film.
And yet, this film has none of that. For one thing, there are about twenty separate storylines, separating almost all the characters for a large part of the movie. So, it is all really a mess. And by themselves, some of the characters start to become grating.
The film is full of scenes giving us back story and it becomes super clear from the earliest moments in the film that this is literally all a set up. The film is more interested in its world building and fan service with origins to characters that never needed an origin. A lot of things feel like they will not pay off until a later film.
The last half hour or so just keeps hitting the audience with twists and reveals…and none of them feel consequential.
I mean, I basically liked Jude Law as a young Dumbledore. But can I say…the most controversial casting of the film was Johnny Depp. And I really do wish the filmmakers had listened to the outcry. Because, honestly? This is one of the most uninspired and dreadfully dull Depp performances I have ever seen. It is just lifeless.
This ends up being a lackluster sequel…and I am disappointed to say it did not keep me entertained.