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Review

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald

The Complicated Characters It Reveals

Warner Bros produced the Harry Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Themon November 16, 2016. The sequel “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwaldwas released to cinemas this November, causing both controversy and applause.

All of the characters featured in the first movie return, but now develop in a surprising way. Overall, Crimes of Grindelwald is a darker addition to the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Set in the last peaceful days before Grindelwald descends, it reveals the complicated plot that sets up the award-winning “Harry Potter” universe, while also resolving questions left unanswered in  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Crimes of Grindelwald is not for the faint-hearted, as it features a more heartless villain than Voldemort, and lacks the playfulness of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, to the well-read Potterhead this sequel is a meaningful addition to J.K Rowling’s wizarding world.

NOTE: To avoid spoilers, do not read ahead. It contains an in-depth take at Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald.

Newt Scamander

Newt Scamander’s affection for Tina Goldstein didn’t change in the time they spent apart, which added an emotional factor to the movie. Their mentalities are similar, as both of them are rather blunt and hopelessly awkward. Unfortunately, the couple from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them seems doomed, with Newt too nervous to talk and Tina supposedly dating someone else. However, fans of Newt and Tina have nothing to fear: they will end up married if J.K. Rowling follows the introduction from Newt’s manual, which defines all magical beasts.

Tina Goldstein

As a whole, Tina acted cold in this movie in comparison to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Tina continued to ambitiously follow her work wherever it led her, but her disregard for Queenie was a sharp change from her behavior in the previous movie. Tina chose to remain silent when her sister joined Grindelwald, making me think that Tina ignored not only her relationship with Queenie, but also with Newt. I would have liked to see the focused young witch from the first film, though she admittedly did not impact much of the Crimes of Grindelwald plot.

Queenie Goldstein

Queenie Goldstein in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was kind and empathetic. Her mental state was never questioned, but Crimes of Grindelwald throws it wide open. It looks like she is insecure about her Legilimency (the ability to read thoughts). Whether Queenie suffers from a legitimate mental illness remains unknown, though it’s possible she’s only experiencing self-criticism. Queenie has gotten a lot of backlash for her mental state, even though it makes sense for her to be conflicted. She was already alone and frightened in Paris, without her family or Jacob. Many viewers believe that her allegiance with Grindelwald defied her character, but I see it as dedication to the muggle-wizard cause. Grindelwald was famous for his persuasive speeches, so even to a lady as capable as Queenie her choice made sense. His ideology was painted in a light that appealed to her.

Leta Lestrange

Leta Lestrange is the most controversial character in Crimes of Grindelwald. Her backstory was revealed through the death of her infant brother. This somber tale and what it revealed about Leta provided a definitive end to her relationship with Newt. Leta is a dark character who reminds us of the last Harry Potterfilms, which creates a cohesive flow to the wizarding world so far.

Credence Barebone

Credence Barebone survives his supposed death in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, under the possibility that his Obscurius did not completely die. (An Obscurius, or Obscurial, is a dark force developed when a witch or wizard tries to hide or deny their magic.) He remains the lonely young man from Fantastic Beasts, but now has a friend in Nagini, who worked at a circus with him. He also cares after a frail bird, revealed to be a baby phoenix. He is again hoodwinked into following Grindelwald, though at the end of the film Grindelwald gifts him two things he had wanted badly; a wand and a name.

Credence is given both a foreign and familiar name: Aurelius Dumbledore. Through he gained the identity he had searched for, it had little effect─his first action under the new moniker is one of destruction. Credence took an evil turn when he could have had a new beginning instead. His identity as Aurelius is under high debate because of the questionable age gap between Albus and his supposed ‘brother.’ As much as fans would like to believe J.K Rowling hid another surprise for them, it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that it was simply a lie on Grindelwald’s part.

Many characters featured in Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald were altered from the original movie, but this can be explained by the looming war and the confusion it brings. Crimes of Grindelwald definitely delivered on the promise of “drawing lines between friendship and love,” but it also raised questions yet to be answered. Nagini’s surprisingly small role, with the appearance of Nicholas Flamel (both noted names from the Harry Potter books) suggests an even more complicated storyline. Only J.K. Rowling could pull it off, and that is something we look forward to.

 

 

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