In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald J.K. Rowling’s propensity for plot development through regression hampers a sequel already suffering from planned quintet fatigue. No advancement can be made without two reinterpretations and flashbacks. Crimes is so tangled with story that not even the best hair relaxer can straighten the mess without abundant audience confusion as to what strand goes where with whom for what and why.
Then there is that thing with Dumbledore (Jude Law) of which every Rowling fan knows about but Crimes refuses to say out loud. He is gay, gay, gay, gay, GAY! Dumbledore’s role is an extended cameo, so the big coming out is a blink and miss it glance. He is reduced to a regression on a regression, story filler.
What is left is Eddie Redmayne as Newt being twitchy and lispy and Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, a proto-facist nazi so white that it is hard to decide whether he was dipped in flour and is awaiting his frying or a nascent vampire who has never seen the light.
And there are all those Fantastic Beasts greatly rendered and which makes sitting through all the wizard angina almost worthwhile. Maybe the series will stay true to its title roots and potion a fantastical origin story about one of those magical beasts?
J.K. Rowling Talks Dumbledore:
(All photos and videos courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)