Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros. Pictures
Happens, everyone who liked Harry Potter series – books and / or movies – at least good enough.
Okay, that's one pulp of you.
Keep them up if you made it all the way to 2016 Amazing animals and where to find them – a prequel to the Canonical Potter Stories, where Eddie Redmayne played magicologist Newt Scamander, who came to New York City in 1926 with a magical election and an annoying squirrel effect.
Hunh. The idea that it would eliminate more of you than it did.
Okay now only Keep them up if you came from Amazing animals disappointed. If you liked the setting – the so-called Wizarding World, American edition – but felt the story a confusing, dull, excessive mess that leaned too hard in the handsome, wutsy magic critters. If you caught some of the stylistic blossoms of Harry Potter, but none of the distinguishing tasks, none of them feel, nobody – let's just get this out of the way – by magic.
Okay. Now. If your hand is not up, you are excused. This next piece is not for you – you do not care about J.K. Rowling's world, or you're so dedicated to the fact that you managed to ignore the fact that Amazing animals was a cinematic obscurus – a loud ball of violent, nonsensically telling chaos, albeit one who made boffo B.O.
Get rid of you. All other? Those who stay? Here is the bucket.
Grindelwald's crime is better than the first one Beasts film, and not just because it turns out to be such a low bar to clear, but because it has a firmer grip on what kind of movie it wants to be. It feels more familiar Potter-y, because it assumes the distinctive narrative form of Harry Potter stories.
Again: It is structural known, you do not know: Good.
Can we all admit, here, that the plots of Harry Potter's books and films were always frustrating in the limbs? Rowling characters happy to keep vital information from Harry – and in the end, the reader – turn each story into a replaced, low-rent mystery where the goal was never to reveal whodunnite, but to echo even the most basic understanding of whatthehellsgoingon? Inevitably we would discover the answers – yes, "discovering" is incorrect. We would be toldwhen Rowling would finally put Harry down to make him listen to an extended monologist filled with secret history that neither he nor we could have expected to be privileged.
That is the kind of planning Grindelwald's crime serving up to a hilariously out-of-nowhere pseudo-climactic scene where characters who have spent the movie scheming to kill another just listen and listen patiently to a series of monologues as if they are sleepy kindergartners at the storytime.
No, it does not work. No, it's not, not even a little, Good. But it is familiar.
It's actually an improvement, in a very small, specific way. You keep in mind that all such information was kept from Harry and his friends because no-one tells children something, which forces them to gather everything that's possible with the most exaggerated tropics in all the children's lights: interception. Magical interception, to be sure, but also so: they should learn something, jump to the wrong conclusion, and continue working under the wrong information to the penultimate chapter when someone (usually Dumbledore) finally explained the situation in its entirety. Rinse, repeat. Accio irritation.
There is none of this, at least.
Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander is an adult, and he finds things out with magic. It's a cool sequence when he reconstructs a crime scene with a sparkling gold magic powder – fingerprint fingerprint, as it was. This time out, the sharp number of dumb scary animals is referred to mercilessly, but those who appear are usually used strategically to give concrete results instead of simply as a way to play the movie's Whimsy Quotient.
Redmayne's performance, like Newt, remains as moderate and tic-ridden as ever. But thanks to a short flashback sequence with a teenage Newt played by Joshua Shea, matching Redmayne's all-foursome head-tilt and glittering glance, it seems less hammy and abandonment, and more a defined and characteristic choice.
Of course, one of the main reasons for it Grindelwald works better than the movie that preceded it is a feature of its status as a trilogy midfilm. World-building activity, as the first movie made such a corned beef-hash, is over, and now it's just the task of moving the various characters across the board as Wizard's Chess pieces as they are. As such, it has a more singular sense of purpose, since all the wobbling subplots in the first hour of the movie eventually lock in place and fit together.
The plot, as it is: Young Dumbledore (Jude Law) sends Newt to Paris, where a fugitive Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) collects his faithful blood trollers in an attempt to control both the wizard world and the human world. Meanwhile, Ezra Miller (checknotes) is Credence Barebone … (checking notes again, wrinkles, shoulders) … Credence Barebone is also in Paris, searching for her mother, together with her girlfriend Nagini (Claudia Kim) a Maledictus pissed off to one day becomes a worm. (Yes.)
There are also love interests things: Newt and his Auror girlfriend Tina (Katherine Waterston) stand out on a misunderstanding that can be clarified with a ten-second conversation, but that's not because Rowling will be Rowling. Newt's friends Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol, who do a lot of the film's many signed roles for women) appear, and the script puts them through some clearly defined changes that at least feel as narrative progress.
The main task of the film is Grindelwald, a dull-as-dishwater villain we repeatedly told is charming and deceptive, although Depp's performance is hard against such reading. The character of Grindelwald is supposedly to use guile and rhetoric to win guides on their part by promising them the opportunity to "live open and love freely" – a not particularly special attempt of the manuscript to underline homosexuality between Grindelwald and Laws Hot Dumbledore – but Depp just hams it like a Pantomime baddie.
Everything about the guy is second hand. Voldemort had worrying slits where his nose would be; Grindelwald a single, discolored iris. When Voldemort called up his supporters, a leather skull with a worm struggling through his eye contacts manifested in heaven: that the wizard had style. When Grindelwald tries the same movement, the buildings in Paris simply get shady tarps thrown over them; It is unclear whether he is calling an army or renovating masonry.
So now. Everyone is stuck? relax. Grindelwald is a better, more effective and thus more moving film than the first one, and it has its unique charm: several characters referred to only in Harry Potter tales pop up here and pick up thrilling gasps from the audience in the process. The vision of Hogwarts, along with John Williams famous fanfare, evokes applause.
And not for nothing? Team looks Good as a dumbledore in custom tweed (Amazing vests and where to find them!), even if we see him so brings together, we develop a sorrow of sorrow in the foolish clothes and the clear jewelry that we know lies in his future, just waiting to turn him into the Wizarding World equivalent of a Santa Fe lard owner named Jade.