Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – A Convoluted Mess.

two-and-a-half-stars
Harry Potter 
is one of the most beloved book and movie series of all time so any continuation of it would naturally be compared to the older series.
While the first film in this new series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, was nothing spectacular, I still thought it was a good place to start and would get better as it went on.
Sadly, this was not the case because I found the latest installment in the Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Gindelwald directed by David Yates, to be a frustrating mess.
The reason for this frustration was because I could see so many elements of a good film here but it just got dragged down by how convoluted the plot got with its way too large roster of characters and how messily this plot was handled.
The characters are easily some of the most egregious parts of the film for me because it felt like so many of them could have and should have been cut.
Characters like Nagini (Claudia Kim), Nicolas Flamel (Brontis Jodorowsky), and Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), either offered nothing to the plot or made the story unnecessarily complicated.

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I will admit that when she first appeared I did find Nagini’s backstory interesting, but after this point she does nothing and becomes ultimately pointless.

Kama was a perfect example of this because his only purpose in the movie was to deliver one of the worst cases of expositional dialogue I had ever seen with it being extremely convoluted and offering nothing in the grand scheme of the story.
What is worse is that these unnecessary additions take away from the main characters’ development.
For example, Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander is treated very poorly.
He is given a brother and maybe a former love interest in this film but neither seem to contribute to his arc in a meaningful way.
This arc, from Newt not wanting to fight Grindelwald, to him choosing to do so, was ruined by his lack of development given by this messy plot.
On top of this, I have no idea why Jude Law’s Dumbledore tasked him with fighting Grindelwald in the first place.
If anything, Newt is a wizarding zoologist and that does not seem like the right job requirements to take on a dark lord.

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Newt is a likeable character and Redmayne plays him well but he just does not fit as the hero taking on an evil wizard hellbent on world domination. 

This is all such a shame because there were moments of brilliance in the film. The opening few minutes and final action sequence are very enjoyable, the final twist is a great one, and a couple of characters do have meaningful arcs.
None of these characters are poorly acted either, with Johnny Depp giving the best performance of the film as the charismatically evil Grindelwald.
It is just that the writing for this film has too much going on and is so convoluted that it drags all of it down.
This is quite a shock, since the film was written by J.K Rowling, the original writer of the Harry Potter series.
If The Crimes of Grindelwald does get a sequel, hopefully this time it will give the story more breathing room.