Somebody send a wizard, stat, because “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” needs a heavy dose of magic.
This sequel to 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a too long, too weak, too confusing jumble of characters and ideas that most outside of the hardcore Harry Potter fan base will struggle to find any enjoyment.
The film opens as powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) devises a prison break. Once he’s free, Grindelwald heads to London to gather followers that will help him raise pure-blood wizards to rule over all muggles and other non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart his former friend’s evil plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists former student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to help.
None of this makes much sense, Depp chews the scenery in the worst possible way, and the film isn’t magical enough to encourage suspension of disbelief. Even worse, it wastes the pure genius casting of Law in this iconic role.
The film as a whole is dreary and boring. Even the big action scenes are yawn-inducing with dark and unappealing CGI. The few bright spots are overshadowed with yappy exposition that the screenwriters just assume newbies will understand. I got the feeling that if you haven’t read J.K. Rowling‘s popular book series, you’ll be lost. I certainly was.
I can’t think of any reason to recommend this film to casual fans. It’s bland, lacks all charm and whimsy, and lands with a resounding thud.