I don't like the Crimes of Grindelwald

I don't like the Crimes of Grindelwald

Photo of AJ twirling in a black dress with a Gryffindor scarf. Her hair is bright orange and she's standing in a cobbled mews in Central London with plants and coloured doors on either side.

There. I've said it. And I know I'm not alone.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is not what I had waited so eagerly for. And, do you know what, I don't think I'm excited about the next instalment either. After speaking to SO many people in person and furiously texting others, it's definitely a common theme, both within the Potter Community and those 'new' to the Wizarding World Franchise.

Now, don't think this post is just going to be me hating on Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and insulting every part of it. There will be a little bit of it, because it's me, I just mostly want to explain why I'm beyond disappointed and how elements of the film are problematic. My background as a Film and Broadcast production graduate won't come into play either, because we do know the film itself is beautiful, but there really isn't much to go on through analysis except spectacle and unnecessary 'breakthroughs' of randomly thrown in 3D (which I refused to see and made a lot of scenes just look weird in 2D). Although, I do have an idea for a later post on gener and masculinity explored within the entire Harry Potter Universe...

I'm going to desperately try to keep this post as spoiler free as I possibly can, but as I write, that may completely change because #emotions. Who knows. I'm going in with good intentions at least. Anything that may be deemed a spoiler will be labelled with SPOILER so do keep an eye out just in case my intentions go astray.

A pile of brown leather suitcases. The top one is open and contains the House of Mina Lima Crimes of Grindelvald book. The book is brown and gold with a big blue diamond on the front and the text is gold

I'm clearly a massive Harry Potter fan, some would even say that it's bordering on obsessive, and I loved the first instalment of the new franchise. I thought that, even though lacking in all the beasts I imagined, it was a great intro to the wider Wizarding World. We finally got to see more magic from the adults, rather than our favourite 'Wizards in Training'. It was funny in all the right places, dark when it needed to be and showed us beyond the UK witches and wizards. It was new, it was exciting and it worked.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was an entirely different kettle of fish. We already knew that this would be darker than the first movie and the whole Dumbledore/Grindelwald relationship is one that has always been something we, as fans, have been fascinated by as it was only ever alluded to throughout the series.

But it really wasn't what we wanted.

I ended up seeing the film twice to be absolutely sure. I would normally be at the midnight release of anything Harry Potter related, but on release day I was living it up in New Zealand. Didn't stop me seeing it on release day though when Gary and our friend kindly offered to spend a gloriously sunny day in a dark room just to make me happy. Bless them.

After I left that first cinema, I couldn't really talk about it much. There were obviously parts I really enjoyed, but as a whole it would need A LOT of thinking. I really didn't know how I felt about it. I need to digest it more, and that's pretty much what half of my 20 odd hour flight back to the UK consisted of.

My first (to be fair, ridiculous) comment about the movie is how The Crimes of Grindelwald weren't exactly explored. All we really see is his manipulation and sway over the magical community in America and Paris. I know this one is petty but it bothered me. If you're going to introduce the idea of Grindelwald's horrendous ways (which we all know exist), then surely you should explore at least some of the crimes themselves? We know this guy is evil, right? Like a magical version of Hitler in the wizarding community (conveniently running parallel to the the growth of Nazism in Germany post World War 2), but other than the opening scene, we see nothing. I completely understand that it's only the second movie in a series of five so they shouldn't go down The Prisoner of Azkaban route and make it too dark, too quickly, but give us something. It just felt that the title told us one thing and the film another. Maybe that one is just me.

A collection of the flyers and posters from Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them. One features the slogan 'witches live among us' and another has the portrait of Shaw

The pace of the film was all off. As many other 'middle films' do, they tried to cram so many different story lines into one film but didn't round many of them up or focused too little on what I believe should be major plot points. Many of the newer characters were undeveloped when they should have been given the time to shine, so I felt like I couldn't resonate or care about any of them. When we lost one, I really wasn't bothered and I know that's mean.

I was too busy caring about other relationships that were left in the shadows, like seeing very little about Grindelwald and Dumbledore's relationship. We have always needed answers about this, even now I'm having discussions with the girls over whether Grindelwald was ever truly in love with Dumbledore but, again, we got squat. I'm not going to hate to Rowling for this like so many other people are doing though because I know it is coming... eventually.

The relationship between Newt and Theseus was touched on in the previous film and we all thought that since Theseus was making a key appearance this time, we'd have the opportunity to learn more about this sibling rivalry. In reality, there was only one thing and that story line was hit and miss with several key parts leaving us with more questions than we had before. It was nothing short of infuriating.

Where were the beasts, yo? Now, I know the whole concept of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has evolved beyond the 'text book' we all got for Comic Relief 2001, and has become more of a journey itself, but STILL, where were the beasts. In a book that's supposedly featuring Newt Scamander and his discovery and research into Magical Creatures, they probably took up about 10 minutes of screen time, and a lot of them weren't new. The revelation about Nagini was exciting when we saw it in the trailer but we weren't given much else. Any explanation behind the very concept of what a Maledictus really is was completely pushed to the side and, as a character, that was pretty much all we got. Very little dialogue or action making her feel like she was just slotted in for the hell of it.

It is not canon. This is, possibly, the thing that pissed me off the most. After 21 years, we are all so familiar with the Harry Potter universe, history and lore that big plot changes come as more than just a shock to the system. One thing that is already known so I don't deem it a SPOILER, apologies if it is, is that Professor McGonagall is already teaching at Hogwarts in 1927. Originally she wasn't even born until 1935... how she was already teaching when she was supposedly not even a foetus, I have no idea. Her birthday was changed on the likes of Pottermore to back up her appearance in the film but it's still wrong to me.

Without going into too much detail, the whole lineage of the Elder Wand appears to have been thrown out of the window. Technically this started with the disarming of Graves/ Grindelwald in the first movie but it's still continuing to plague me, especially since we see the Elder Wand in action in Crimes of Grindelwald. It's one of the things I can't stop thinking about and every time I do, I get all wound up into a ball of fury. I mean, this is the very thing that lead to the Downfall of Voldemort, the reason why it would never work for him because he only saw defeat by means of death and not disarming. I'm hoping it's something that will be answered in the future and not another one of those plot holes we see in movies that are graciously brushed aside. In the mean time, I'll still be constantly angry and shout at my TV.

I know this post has been, essentially, one long rant. But I have SUCH #opinions. I just haven't been so disappointed in something I was looking forward to so much in such a long time. I'm still angry 4 months later! We have been left with more questions than we had before, the movie betrayed new characters leaving them with very little emotive attachment from the audience and fractured elements of the Harry Potter Universe. I was going to say 'flat out broke' but am aware that's just me and my penchant for hyperbole.

I'm more than happy to debate so if you think I am completely wrong in any part of this, do let me know in the comments below or on Insatagram.