When a world is as convincing, intricate, and engrossing as the magical world of Harry Potter and his wizarding community, it can be a challenge to remember that one woman created it.
Of course, since those books laid the groundwork, many creative minds have touched and shaped the wizarding world, but at its heart still beats the world J.K. Rowling sketched out at its beginning.
I think that bares remembering as we follow her into this next chapter, the second installment of “Fantastic Beasts.” She’s given us no reason to not trust her storytelling thus far.
So, with that in mind, let’s begin…
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” jumps right into the central plot set up by its predecessor as Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is transferred from the custody of MACUSA (translation: American witches and wizards) to European custody. The stakes are (to say the least) high from the start.
We know who our villain is and, of course, our hero is none other than Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his band of American witches (and one no-maj, that’s muggle to the British witches). Last we saw this group, Newt was in hot water with his Ministry, Tina (Katherine Waterston) was restored as an Auror, Jacob’s (Dan Fogler) memory of the entire first movie had been obliviated, and Queenie (Alison Sudol) was probably breaking a few rules by visiting Jacob’s bakery (presumably to restore his lost memories…as we learn).
But let us not forget Credence (Ezra Miller) who has run away to join the circus in Paris (no, really) in search of his real family. That’s precisely where the British Ministry of Magic (which needs to be specified in this ever-expanding, wide-world of magic), including Newt’s brother, Theseus (Callum Turner) would like Newt to go. However, Newt takes issue with the Ministry’s plans for Credence once Newt finds him.
But the Ministry aren’t the only ones who want Newt to head to France, turns out Dumbledore (Jude Law) has plans for him too.
I know that’s a lot to process, but I haven’t even gotten to Newt’s old flame, Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) who is now engaged to Theseus. But all of this comes together to make a (complex) beautiful set-up for adventures yet to come.
As was the case in the first film, this is a wizarding world that’s both familiar and completely new. There are familiar, if much younger, faces. Discovering the new and rediscovering a few things as well is, in a word, magical.
What I found most impressive about this movie was the incredible scale of the story it’s setting up. I’m not just speaking about the visuals (which continue to be absolutely mind-blowing) or the attention to detail with each and every character in an ever-expanding universe of characters, but the literal global achievements of this tale. It’s an impressive feat, not to mention, a timely.
The story may have left some wanting more, but guess what? There are three more movies to come. So those unanswered questions and unfulfilled promises may yet come to fruition. So, as we dive deeper into this world of “Fantastic Beasts,” it’s good to remember that all are welcome in the wizarding world, this is J.K. Rowling’s world she’s been kind enough to share.