My Thoughts on “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”

This will obviously contain lots of spoilers for both Fantastic Beasts movies. 

I saw Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on Thursday night with one of my best friends, Emma. We are HUGE Harry Potter/Wizarding World fangirls. I met Emma in college in 2011 and therefore we never got to see a Harry Potter movie in theaters together. We were thrilled that we could finally go together (we couldn’t go to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them because we live in different states). We both have A LOT of thoughts about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. We spent about 2 hours discussing after the movie. 

My overall opinion on Beasts 2 is a mixed bag. There were parts I loved, parts I liked, and parts I couldn’t stand. 

I’ll start with what I loved. . . 

Jude Law aka Albus Dumbledore aka Hot Dumbledore. Jude Law was perfection. He was so Dumbledore. He embodied everything that Dumbledore is and was . . . he even had the sparkle in his eye!

  • Fun fact: My friend and I have been referring to Beasts 2 as “Hot Dumbledore” and November as “Hot Dumbledore Month”. We now even use “Hot Dumbledore” as an expression like “Hot Damn.” For example . . . “Hot Dumbledore, Jude Law is attractive!”
  • Random point – When Dumbledore looks into the Mirror of Erised he sees himself and Grindelwald with the Elder Wand. Since the Mirror of Erised shows your strongest desire, I think that Dumbledore wishes that he and Grindelwald could have remained together and found the Elder Wand together. I think Dumbledore wishes he could have kept Grindelwald from becoming evil and abusing power.  
  • I cannot wait for more Dumbledore! 

Newt Scamander and his fantastic beasts, especially the Nifflers. Eddie Redmayne was great in his reprisal of Newt. He’s just so adorable and awkward. 

  • Huge props to the casting department for the actor who played the younger Newt! I actually thought it was just Eddie Redmayne at first. 

Being back at Hogwarts!!! I starting tearing up at the first image of the castle. 

  • Side note about Hogwarts: Yes, Minerva McGonagall should not have been there per previous canon dates. However, I am not as pissed about this as a lot of others are. Was is necessary? Absolutely not! Did it add anything to the movie? Nope! But, did it really make that big of a difference in the grand scheme of the Wizarding World? Not at all. 

Grindelwald’s manipulation and rise to power. Now, I was very upset with the decision to keep Johnny Depp as Grindelwald. I don’t think it was handled well at all. He totally could have been recast considering Grindelwald was literally only in 2.5 seconds of Beasts 1. I decided just to look at Grindelwald as a character and separate Johnny Depp from it.

  • People like to compare Voldemort and Grindelwald, but we have to remember that Grindelwald was first. Voldemort drew inspiration from Grindelwald. Grindelwald is terrifying because he is a master manipulator. A woman willingly and excitedly killed a child because Grindelwald told her to! 
  • I thought the film did an excellent job of showing how manipulative and persuasive Grindelwald is. My first thought was that he is a perfect representation of a cult leader. He is able to identify vulnerable people and manipulate them into joining his side. A great example of this is Queenie. Now, I know people have been debating whether Queenie is acting with free will or if something in the tea cursed her. I 100% believe that she is acting with her own free will. Grindelwald was able to target her and use her greatest desire (ability to marry Jacob legally) to persuade her to join his forces. She has become brainwashed, but not from any magic. She was the perfect victim. I thought this was a great and totally unexpected arc for Queenie. I can’t wait to see what happens next to her. 

Nicolas Flamel. His run through the house. The Sorcerer’s Stone. Everything about him. I loved it. 

Now for what I did not like. . .

The overall plot.

  • I totally get the purpose of this movie. It was all a set up for the next three movies. It was a filler. I just wasn’t invested in the whole “Who is Credence!?” plot. It was ok, but not what I expected. More on Credence later. 

The ridiculous amount of unnecessary characters and subplots. 

  • There was just too much going on in this movie. It was hard to keep up. I was confused as someone who is extremely well versed in the Wizarding World and its canon.
  • Was the whole Leta Lestrange’s half-brother subplot necessary? It did not add anything. I was just confused by the extra character. Actually the whole Leta Lestrange arc was weird. I was expecting something different after her mention of in the first movie. That being said, Zoe Kravitz was spectacular in the role. 

Nagini’s lack of a role. I was so excited when JKR revealed that Nagini was a Maledictus. I couldn’t wait to find how she became Voldemort’s right hand. Unfortunately, Nagini was just a prop in Beasts 2. She basically stood next to Credence and looked scared. I know she will play a bigger role in the next movies, but I’m disappointed that we have to keep waiting to learn about her. One thing that I did really like about Nagini was that she ended the movie with the good guys at Hogwarts. Nagini was a good guy! What happens between now and Voldemort that makes her change?! I can’t wait to find out! 

  • The transformation scene from human to snake was so creepy! Very well done! 

The big reveal about Credence’s identity. There are three options for the meaning of Grindelwald’s big reveal. . .

  1. It’s all a lie. I think that it’s a possibility that Grindelwald is messing with Credence. His proof is that the Phoenix bonds to Credence. The phoenix was with Credence throughout the entire movie, but did not reveal itself until Grindelwald said Credence was a Dumbledore. Seems mighty convenient to me. Also, at the beginning of the movie, Grindelwald says that Credence is the one that needs to kill Dumbledore (I know that Grindelwald can’t kill Dumbledore because of the blood pact). It seems unlikely, but maybe Credence was the perfect victim to use. Grindelwald can manipulate him into hating the Dumbledores and eventually use his Obscurus to kill Albus. I think this theory is a possibility, but it’s not my top choice for what I believe is true. 
  2. It’s the truth. If this is the case I will be FURIOUS. My love and admiration for J.K. Rowling will be over (I’ll still love all that she’s created). If this is the truth it will not only change canon, but fundamentally change who Dumbledore was. There is no way our Dumbledore wouldn’t have told Harry about another brother. There. Is. No. Way. And if Dumbledore knew he had another sibling he would NEVER neglect them. And wouldn’t Aberforth have mentioned another brother?! It’s just not possible. I just. I can’t. Also the dates don’t match up at all. Dumbledore’s mother was dead and his father was in Azkaban by the time Credence was born. It’s just not possible. And for all those who say well what if Percival Dumbledore escaped Azkaban! It is possible! Yes. But, that would be overly complicated and far-fetched. Anyway, if it is true I will be devastated. I don’t think that it will be this option though. I don’t think (and am hoping and praying) that JKR would do this.
  3. The most likely option . . . Credence is the host for the same Obscurus that was Arianna Dumbledore’s. After Beasts 1, we all realized that Arianna Dumbledore likely became an Obscurus after the muggle attack. I believe that her Obscurus survived and somehow traveled to find another host. Credence is that host. This would make it possible for him to be part Dumbledore . . . the Obscurus was part of Arianna and is now part of Credence. Dumbledore mentions early in the movie that the Obscurus is like an evil twin. I think this supports the host theory. The Obscurus is only one part of Credence. And Arianna is part of that Obscurus. I wish I could articulate this better, but this is the theory I believe to be true. 

If it is anything besides my first or third theories I will be so damn mad and disappointed. 

Young Grindelwald’s eye.

  • I absolutely LOVED that Jamie Campbell Bower and Toby Regbo were back to play the young versions of Grindelwald and Dumbledore. HOWEVER, why did they give young Grindelwald the super creepy right eye when he didn’t have it in Deathly Hallows. It was totally unnecessary . . . they could have just come up with a reason why Grindelwald’s eye became all weird. 

Overall, I’m disappointed and confused . . . which is a really hard feeling to grasp for a Harry Potter world movie. I’ve never felt this way after a Harry Potter movie. I so wanted to love it. I’m reminding myself that this movie’s purpose was to set up the rest of the series. Fingers crossed that the next three movies will be amazing!