J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has been one to dominate media and literature for many years. The story of the wizarding world is open to all ages and is still growing and changing, even after so many years of the series being finished (the last novel came out in 2007). Even more surprising, the prequel to this series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was published in 2001 (before I was born). This book is a guide to the different creatures of the Harry Potter world, and in 2016 it was made into a film starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Colin Farrell. The action-packed movie was a hit, bringing back nostalgia for many long time Harry Potter fans, and last weekend, its sequel Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald was released. This movie has many aspects to please a diverse crowd: romance, action, mystery, and magic.
However, since the second movie was announced last year, there has been a lot of controversy about it. A large part of this controversy circulated the casting of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, the film’s antagonist. In 2016, the world was shocked when allegations of domestic abuse were made against Depp by his ex-wife. However, Depp refuted the claims and the trial was soon dropped, along with the charges against him. But the talk and speculation about the actor did not cease, and when it was announced that Grindelwald would not be recast and Depp would keep his role, it was a surprise to everyone, including other cast members. According to actor Ezra Miller, known for his role as Credence Barebones in the films, the cast of Crimes of Grindelwald “weren’t consulted” about Depp’s casting. As the release date of the movie came closer, though, the skepticism and complaints died down as the excitement for another Harry Potter film grew.
Since being released, the movie itself has also experienced some controversy. It seems as though there is a pretty even split as to whether or not the movie is a good one. For some long-time Rowling and Potter fans, there was backfire as to how the movie messed with the canon timeline. There were some new relationships and characters introduced that do not go along with original plotlines in the Harry Potter series, and this angered some fans. However, some “Potterheads” loved the movie and didn’t mind the new changes. New plotlines and mystery have opened up a whole other perspective for fans, and this movie will most definitely keep fans excited and talking until the third movie of the franchise is released. Some, however, argue that this aspect had too much weight and that the entire movie was simply a setup for the next.
If you are somewhat familiar with the franchise and storyline and are looking for a fun, action-packed movie to watch this weekend, Crimes of Grindelwald should be in the running. The returning cast members, as well as new actors and characters such as Jude Law’s Dumbledore, Zoë Kravitz’s Leta Lestrange, and Claudia Kim’s Nagini, put on a great show. All performances in the movie were well done, along with special effects and magic that can keep anyone entertained and amazed. And although this sequel has somewhat of a darker theme to it, there remain many comical scenes and characters that create a great balance. I, for one, enjoyed the breaks from the dense plot where we could see the beloved Niffler creatures and their shenanigans. It was also an interesting experience to see the new Dumbledore introduced in this sequel. I was able to see my favorite headmaster in his prime years, and Law’s portrayal of the character is certainly a change from the jeweled-robe-with-matching-hat Dumbledore we all know and love. It will be interesting to see the character changes in the inevitable third movie, which has not been set.