With the holiday season in full effect, I won’t lie I’ve been preoccupied with the nonsense that comes with it. Which is why the blogs and reviews have slowed down a minute. But, with the break I have seen two (2) new films and have some thoughts. One is Creed 2, which will be coming later this week, as I still have some pre drafting and gathering of my review points. This one however, is all over the place just like the film itself. As a young man, I was absolutely enthralled in the Harry Potter universe. The magical elements, the creatures, the characters and story arcs over the 7 year span of the original book series. I’ve read all the books more then once, seen every movie, and catching up on the non-Harry Potter based books.
Then the Fantastic Beasts series came along. The first one that came out a few years ago, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is fine. I didn’t love it like the other movies, but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I was intrigued more into the introduction of Gellert Grindelwald. For the non-HP nerds, he’s basically Hitler for Wizards and wanted to enslave non magic people, but might have been in a relationship with Albus Dumbledore and they dueled each other (which either caused or ended the Second World War somehow?). Their fight is suppose to be the most legendary duel in the world, so they had me for the next movies to come.
This sequel is probably the worst movie in the film universe. The story is pretty much Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is tasked to find Credence (Ezra Miller) and make sure he does not fall into the hands of Grindelwald (noted weirdo Johnny Depp). he meets with Jacob Kolwalski (fake Josh Gad/James Corden), the two sister witches who I don’t like nor find interesting, Lita Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), Scamander’s brother, and other people who I didn’t care for. All while Dumbledore (Jude Law) is chilling, teaching some kids some defense against the Dark Arts, because him and Wizard Depp made a blood pact that is apparently so sacred it can’t be broken. Listen a homeboy and I made a pact in 5th grade to never not be friends. I haven’t spoke to the kid in over 10 years. I’m fine but whatever.
From a technical aspect, it looks stunning. The set pieces and CGI are really well done, as well as the magic fighting scenes as well. David Yates has directed the best parts of the original HP series, and still carries over to this new series. Even the magical beasts that are shown throughout the movie look like they fit within the universe. The ending battle looks fantastic as well. Johnny Hitler casts a spell of a dragon made of blue flames that went across a giant graveyard, and had to be stopped by more magical spells and cool stuff. HOWEVER,,,,, MAX KELLERMAN,,,,, this shouldn’t take away from the flawed story points and course correction.
There are some major flaws in this movie. First of all, which is probably the most egregious, Dumbledore was in maybe 4 scenes in the 2 plus hours. Jude Law kills it too which is more infuriating, but he’s so heavily promoted in trailers and marketing and he’s not even in a third of the movie. I’m sure they are planning to expand his role as the time gets closer for him and Magical Tyrant Depp to throw hands. With a great character comes some real stinkers from the rest of the cast. I don’t hate Newt Scamander as much as I did in the previous movie, as I think we get a little more behind the weirdness he brings to the table. Kowalski I can’t stand, since he’s just poor comic relief as the non magical character but brings no interest or anything to the table. The twin witches are as bland as processed American cheese from the dollar store, as well as the other tertiary characters. Johnny Depp is in this movie though, and he’s as weird and creepy as normal, with his weird pompadour/mid fade haircut and gray eye that is there because he’s a creepy dude. Also he hits the skull bong and tells the future, which might be the funniest thing in the entire movie to me. Homie just hitting the skull on that dank loud and telling us about the threat of WW2 that’s coming (that he might intentionally cause maybe?) similar to a fortune teller from the Dominican Republic.
The biggest knock on this movie to me is more from the constant canon correction and changes to established characters from the creator of all this, JK Rowling. Everyone who is a fan and online roasts her to death because of the constant changing of existing canon to her own stories every other week. Most famously, she stated that Dumbledore was gay and had a relationship with Grindelwald. Yet, for whatever reason, we can’t get a full commitment in the movies or books that show us their relationship. It dips a toe in with the pact, but for real JK just go for the full thing. Don’t pussyfoot around this. Also, major canon changes, mainly Wizard Hitler has the Elder Wand (the most powerful wand of all time) in this movie, yet the books establish he shouldn’t have it for a few more years at least. Second, the big twist is Credence is actually a Dumbledore, which makes no sense because there isn’t a fourth Dumbledore in canon, but again rules and established history in previous movies don’t matter anymore. I’m sure this isn’t real but if this is another change we’re at strike 2. And the biggest thing that pissed me off is so small yet just grinds my gears. Jacob Kowalski got his mind erased by the Obliviate spell in the previous movie after finding out about the magic world. This spell should have just wiped it all with no way of getting it back ever. Nope, now Obliviate only erases bad memories so he remembers everything. So in that case we need to Fix Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1, since Hermonie wiped her parents memory with the exact charm, yet she was completely erased from their minds. I’m throwing the bull-crap flag on this play. Stick to your established rules and canon JK. Don’t change stuff because you can. That just takes me out of this world more and more. Also, Nick Flamel and the Sorcerer’s Stone are in this movie as well, which is cool.
It’s clear this movie is just a sequel that sets up the next sequel, whatever that’s gonna be. Hopefully the skull bong comes back and Dumbledore and Johnny Depp have a smoke session to which the world has never seen, but that’s all I really want to see. Apparently there are 3 more movies coming down the pipeline. I’d rather see 3 more Han Solo spinoffs than 3 more of these movies. It’s a real shame because I truly like this universe and all the possibilities they could have since we are out of the bounding of the books. Yet I’ve been let down twice now. This next Fantastic Beasts movie needs to hit hard, or your at risk of being the new DC. And believe me, no one wants that. DC doesn’t even want that.
Score: 5 Skull Bongs/10