Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Mads mikkelsen, Ezra miller, Alison Sudol, Katherine Waterston, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, and Richard Coyle.
Directed By: David Yates
Where I Watched it: HBO MAX
English Audio Description?: Yes
Description Provided By: Deluxe
Narrated By: Jedidiah Barton
The Plot: The wizard in world becomes even more enamored with an unhinged tyrant that looks to destroy those who would dare to oppose him, and eliminate the human race. Meanwhile, Dumbledore is prevented from directly attacking, so it’s up to Newt and Jacob to stop this madness… and possibly this franchise.
What Works: I enjoyed the first film because it delivered on its promise. Magical creatures, or more appropriately, Fantastic Beasts. The second film started interjecting a lot of backstory, morphing what could have been a delightful franchise on its own, into a prequel to Harry Potter, shoving Newt’s life work to the side. In the third film, we have a compromise, where we are still force fed a bunch of nostalgia memberberries, but at least we have fantastic beasts.
The film revolves the plot even a bit more around the necessity and existence of these beasts, where they are actually used to further the story, or contribute to the plot, instead of just existing because they look cool.in that regard, this sequel fixed one of my biggest problems with the second film.
Also, Grindlewold has decidedly less screen time, at least it feels that way, than Johnny Depp did in the second film. Not that Mads Mikkelson is bad in the role, but rather that he’s just very different. The tone shouldn’t have changed so much, just the face. Mads is more terrifying, to be sure, but he comes across as less sly than Depp.
So, having him in less scenes helps the awkward nature of him being played by a new actor. And having Dan Fogler’s Jacob once again front and center is the best decision this franchise has ever made. And when you sandwich him between Edddie’s Newt and Alison’s Queenie, then we have a trifecta of awesomeness.
They even seemed to give Ezra Miller’s seemingly pointless character more to do, a backstory, and finally tied him in to the whole thing in a way that was even more interesting than the first film.
What Doesn’t Work: Tina disappearing for most of the movie. She’s just gone, with some bullshit about her being promoted back in America. She is in the movie, but she’s in so little of it, it begs the question of what behind the scenes drama caused this. How did Newt’s love interest get sidelined so heavily in what is likely the last chapter? And this abscence does nothing to further their relationship that was just blossoming officially after the second film, so the ending of this one feels very unearned.
I still don’t know why the guy who seems so harmless and wants to save animals became the centric face of this revolution, other than they didn’t trust that he could anchor his own series, and they needed to make it be a prequel series, so they just shoved Newt in here. I don’t mind prequels, but this is such an odd fit, and forcing it in here, is just unfortunate. Any ground the film makes up, still detracts from the fact that Newt has had to totally abandon his original work and dreams.
And, I still do not buy Jude Law as Dumbledore. The more screen time he is given, the less I see him transforming into Richard Harris/Michael Gambon.
The Blind Perspective: The audio description here is absolutely necessary because those beasts are integral to the plot, and they don’t speak. Plus, you want to know what they look like. So all of that is done really well, plus all the magic battles, costumes, and constant references to Hogwarts. Plus, Jedidiah Barton is one of the best in the game. Loved hearing his voice on this, even if it means that each film in this franchise bizarrely has a new narrator.
Final Thoughts: A third film that fixes some of the problems of the second, but creates new ones, leaving you about the same way you likely felt after seeing Crimes of Grindlewold, so I’m keeping that grade consistent. It’s not terrible, but it’s clearly not what it thinks it is either, which is Harry Potter. If you want that feeling, spin Jacob off into his own film, and let him be the first Muggle to learn magic. I’d watch that film.
Final Grade: B-