Well, it’s finally here. ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ hits theaters this week. We were lucky enough to attend a early screening of the film and I solemnly swear that I am going to #ProtectTheSecrets and try my best to not give away any major spoilers.
That said, if you’re wanting to go into the movie knowing absolutely nothing, it’s probably best to come back after you’ve seen it.
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ takes us back to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World of the 1920s and quite early on in the film we learn that there are traitors in both MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) and the British Ministry of Magic that aid Grindelwald’s escape. While we see the return our favorite witches, wizards and No-Maj, we’re also introduced to new characters, both human and beast. As we know from the trailers, the Nifflers are back along with a few additions of their own. Pickett the Bowtruckle makes his return as well and we learn how he became one of Newt’s favorite companions. Another thing we learn is that whether it’s a domestic cat or a magical Chinese cat-like creature called a Zouwu, most felines are suckers for a cat toy with feathers and a jingle bell.
Other characters that the audience is introduced to include a young Dumbledore, the mysterious Monsieur Yusuf Kama and — probably most important to Newt — his brother Theseus and once-upon-a-time close friend, Leta Lestrange.
In ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘, Leta Lestrange was briefly mentioned in conversation and we learned that she once shared a close relationship with Newt. But in ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’, we see how she and Newt developed their friendship, her struggles with the burden of her family name/history and how this affects her during her time at Hogwarts. As an audience, we learn how complex of a character Leta is. Zoë Kravitz does an amazing job portraying these complexities.
Another important character we’re introduced to is Theseus, Newt’s older brother, who is also mentioned in passing during the first film. Theseus is the golden boy, a Wizarding War hero who is now working at the British Ministry of Magic as an Auror.
When we first meet Theseus, he is the older, overbearing brother keeping his younger brother out of trouble. But toward the end of the first meeting, we see that, in fact, it’s all (for the most part) to protect his younger brother. There are a few moments when, as an audience, we see how different Theseus and Newt are but we also see some very nice and heartwarming brotherly moments.
While not a new character, we are introduced to probably one of the most anticipated characters in the film: a young Albus Dumbledore. The ever enigmatic Dumbledore recruits the help of his former Hogwarts student in order to help defeat Grindelwald and get to Credence. It’ll come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series that 1) he asks for help but without giving the reasons why he can’t do it himself and 2) is somewhat in trouble with the Ministry of Magic. It’s refreshing to see a different side to Dumbledore, since we’re only familiar with him as Headmaster of Hogwarts. As Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts, we see him have a bit more freedom and being a bit more reckless.
And now to our favorites: Newt, Tina, Jacob and Queenie — oh boy! Remember all those adorably awkward moments between Newt and Tina in the first Fantastic Beasts film? They’re back again. When Newt finds out from Queenie that Tina is upset at him, Jacob encourages him to tell her how he feels next time he sees her. But when Newt practices with Jacob, Jacob advises him against saying what he originally planned to say and “Just tell her you missed her.”
The friendship between Jacob and Newt is honestly one of the best things of the film. Despite his own problems and the fact that a lot of the time he doesn’t understand what is going on, he stands by Newt’s side because his friend needs him rather than standing by him for personal gain. While most people who have met Newt write him off because of his introverted, awkward nature and preference for magical animals instead of humans, Jacob accepts Newt as he is.
And for those of you who are wondering how Jacob remembers everything that happened to him in the first film if his memory was wiped? Don’t worry, it’s not a plot hole, just a very clever loophole. Queenie is also back causing a bit of mischief after she and Jacob reunite with Newt.
While many people (including Newt) believed that Credence had died in the first film, we learn that in fact he is alive and is in Paris, France. In Paris, Credence is working at the Circus Arcanus where he meets and strikes up a friendship with Nagini, a Maledictus. With Nagini’s help, Credence embarks on a quest to find out more about his past and who his parents are.
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ has a bit of a darker tone than the first film and is full of surprises, perfectly timed comedy, plot twists and tearjerker moments.
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ hits theaters twice this week, tonight, November 13 for the Fan Event screening and this Friday, November 16.