If you haven’t seen Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald yet, leave now. This is a muggle protection act. The following post is infested with spoilers. Ministry officials are still working on cleaning that up (once they’ve caught Grindelwald, so probably never.) Come back when you’ve seen the movie, and before that, watch the first one again. You will need it.
Wizards, you may pass. Proceed now, please. Wands at the ready.
To set the mood, and catch all my thoughts into this pensivie before they slip away, I’m listening to the official Crimes of Grindelwald score and thought it would be nice to use the song titles as guidelines throughout the parts of the movie.
The Thestral Chase
Okay look, I know Grindelwald is a criminal and fanatic and all, but this opening scene was some magical badassery. At first, I thought he would escape on the way, but I definitely did not expect him already having been out. I would’ve liked to know when and how exactly Grindelwald did it (having an inside man is not everything), but yeah when that follower of his held the elder wand, I first thought that guy, whoever he was, had stolen it. First random thought: The side characters were pretty weak. I don’t know ANY of their names and it doesn’t matter, which is a bit sad. Tongue guy only reminded me of Barty Crouch Jr. But back to the chase, when Grindelwald appeared to be drowning his captors while flying through the air. Mad. It was awful, but in that way you can’t stop looking at.
Newt and Leta
My precious Newt in the ministry was everything. He looked so out of place that I just wanted to hug him and take him home, like an abandoned puppy. Playing with Pickett for a button was also such a Newt thing to do! And, it’s pretty obvious that there’s still a spark between him and Leta, on both sides. I don’t like that we didn’t get ANY explanation what happened between them, why she is with his brother of all people, and basically their entire history. Also, idk, I thought it wouldn’t have been out of character for Newt to have accepted the ministry’s offer, because the guy who got the job to hunt Credence instead seemed to be some known brutal killer. I just don’t think Newt would have just let it happen, and even tasked by the ministry he could’ve ended up doing his own thing.
I LOVE JUDE LAW’S DUMBLEDORE. Ugh he was just perfect. It was easy to see him as his own person and therefore accept Jude’s way of playing him – Dumbledore is sixty years younger than in Harry Potter, and we know he went through quite a few personal changes. And still he was so very Dumbledore, extra and playful but also sharply intelligent and confident and wonderful. I loved him so so much.
Can we talk how AMAZING Newt’s house is? Wow. I wish we had seen more of it, because all the magic and creatures are supposed to be the franchise’s tagline, and yet they were a mere side role this time, and that’s a shame. Also, who was that assistant Newt apparently has? Where did she come from? Why didn’t we ever see her again?? (And why does she have to have a crush on Newt too, I mean yeah he’s adorable but still, insert eye roll.) But most importantly: BABY NIFFLERS. MY HEART COULDN’T COPE.
Newt and Jacob pack for Paris
These two together are so fun. I’m really glad that Jacob could remember everything quite easily, and found the reasoning (erasing only the bad memories etc) believable. With Queenie, I liked how you could immediately tell something was wrong, not only by Jacob’s obvious ridiculousness (flashback to Ron and the love potion, anyone?) but through her entire demeanour. The fight was so realistic too – two people who actually love each other and know each other well, packing out the other’s deepest fears to hurt them, even though they didn’t want to do that at all. It was so sad to see, aw man.
I… don’t know yet about the entire circus thing, and all. It was very rash and badly explained and well, we all knew Nagini’s backstory when the trailer came out so it wasn’t very surprising to me either. What bothers me is that her character was quite unnecessary for this story. She did nothing, barely said anything, was only there to support Credence – but what did she want? How about looking for a way to break her curse? Mh. Maybe we’ll learn more in two years. I hope it at least gets explained why she’s going to join a similar cause in the future that she is now rejecting.
Newt tracks Tina
This tracking spell thing made it a bit too easy to just chase people around, and it’s odd that it hasn’t been used literally any other time. But okay. The Niffler chasing the golden magic traces was so cute!! And the whole guy-with-the-hat-thing was very confusing. He made me thing of that lawyer from A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Queenie Searches for Jacob
My heart actually broke for Queenie when she was so alone in the rain, in a strange city, in overwhelming noise and thoughts, probably sorry for everything that happened and yet unable to make everything right. She is so precious and deserves so much better! I was so afraid that Grindelwald would hurt her, but he actually did something worse, and as a villain I appreciate that about him.
Irma and the Obscurus
Uh yeah, what was that scene again? It reminded me a bit of a horror movie. Why would he talk into a room full of hangings, not being able to see who’s in it, and tell his life story? It was pretty stupid. And why could that evil-auror walk through walls please? I know breaking boundaries is cool and all, but a lot of the magic went against rules established in HP and I found that irksome. Example: Doing spells without speaking (and even wands) was always supposed to be super hard and mastered by overly powerful wizards, yet here everyone was waving and swishing around happily. Oh well.
This one includes Dumbledore’s flashback to making that blood pact with Grindelwald. I had no idea what exactly was happening, though. Why is is deepest desire a memory? Or just seeing Grindelwald? We do know Dumbledore’s sister was already long dead at this point, and that ever since then it was his deepest desire to see her again. So, uh nope. Weird.
Capturing the Zouwu
Newt and fantastic beasts is all I’m here for. Can we maybe get a magical animal documentary David-Attenborough-style instead of all the unnecessary drama please? But I digress. The Zouwu is one of my FAVOURITE creatures now! A lion-dragon-hybrid is, like, born of my dreams. And, THE RATTLE. Cuteness overload right there.
Travelling to Hogwarts
Next to Newt’s documentary, I would appreciate a series of Defense Against the Dark Arts tutorials by Dumbledore. He reminded me so much of Lupin while teaching, I actually teared up, especially when his class defended him so passionately. They didn’t move an inch when the ministry dude said they should get out, and instead looked to him. Who’s cutting onions?! Idk, it said a lot. I also liked the political struggle he would always be in – advocating mercy and understanding, yet unwilling to take up power himself, and unable to convince officials of his views. Ah, if they only listened to him once. It was also interesting to see how he came to teach Transfiguration, I never really thought it suited him anyway. Also, McLaggen! I snorted. That was a nice nod to the Potterheads who knew exactly who’s ancestor that was. I wanted more Hogwarts school moments!
… didn’t really explain anything to me, but was still cute. I loved Newt’s worst fear being a desk job – I feel him on that. Of course, he turned him into a bird. His hair was on point too, always the same! Ah, he’s just too adorable. And Leta, well, I actually liked her and wish we’d gotten to know her more as well. (Also, McGonnagall shutting that girl’s mouth again was brilliant.) As of now, I can’t really say more on her. Random thought: Why were the Hogwarts robes blue back then?
Flash forward to Paris, these vaults, and Newt merlins-beard-boy-please-just-say-im-not-freaking-engaged! The slow burn nearly killed me, haha. Am I the only one who doesn’t really ship Newt and Tina? Obviously I want them to be happy but idk, I don’t feel the spark with them like with him and Leta, but maybe that’s just me. Before that, I found it hilarious that Newt keeps brother-polyjuice-potion with him, and that Theseus saw him walk in as himself but in Newt’s clothes, it was comedic gold. Now, I feel the need to spread some Theseus appreciation. I love him. Yes he plays by the rules and is a bit boring maybe (bare in mind he’s heading the aurors, though), but he is just doing his thing. And he wants his brother to be safe, which yes is no excuse to force his way on him, but I think he tried to learn. He even wanted to give Newt a task to do with the Obscurus he saved, letting him back into that field, and I don’t believe he expected him to kill a creature. And now, when Tina and Newt were running away from Theseus, and Newt actually said something along the lines of ‘He tried to kill me a few times before’ and, on seeing him taken out by Tina it was the ‘best moment of his life’? Idk, I hope it was just some sibling-not-earnest-‘hate’ because Theseus never wanted him harmed, and he didn’t seem much like a brother who was cruel but rather a bit overprotective. I like him, okay!
Were these the cat warden things? I like that they were based on actual French myths, but cats still deserve better. Just wanted to say that.
Your Story Is Our Story
Okay here we are. The Lestrange family drama. Excuse the language but what a fuck-up? It took me everything to keep track of who is related how to whom and I did. Not. Like. It. Mr-Poe-Guy did not help with his wild storytelling either. I just don’t know why that was so necessary but there you go.
Ah. Phew. That was some wild ride. How horrible it must’ve been for that little girl to live with this all her life… Although I’m not entirely sure, maybe her brother actually survived (either he did, or she survived Grindelwald’s blue fire later because the Lestrange line doesn’t die with her and moves to London). Something I don’t get: Why did that (awful) Lestrange man send his kids to America anyway? Leta because he “didn’t love her”, but why her brother? Idk, the whole thing was so weird.
Vision of War
The more I think about it, the more I appreciate Grindelwald as a villain. I liked that we were shown this time how he orchestrated the entire thing around Credence, how all served simply to get him on his side, and how perfectly everyone played their part. It was evil, but fascinating. You see how above everything Grindelwald is, actually similarly to Dumbledore (as we know), playing people like violins because he sees right through their wishes and desires.
Spread the Word
Connected to that, using evil-auror guy and that staged murder of this girl (who probably felt like a martyr) to prove to everyone how he was just talking, ‘searching for the truth’, and the ministries were the ones using violence and oppression? Genius. I actually find Grindelwald much more dangerous than Voldemort, because openly all he used was words, and not even apparently aggressive ones. (Behind the scenes it’s obviously a different story, but this from a public perspective) He eluded just the right things, saying muggles were different (which they are) and therefore of different worth – but what that meant, he left open, and everyone interpreted it as what they thought/wanted to hear. Whether that was out of hatred or contempt or love. Of course, now you’re thinking about Queenie. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I genuinely understand her development. It was the only one I actually felt, that was special and bold. A lot of people are angry at her, but see – she was always a quiet, law-abiding citizen. She fell in love, and for no good reason, she was forbidden to go after that love. She wants nothing for herself but a quiet life, a man she loves, a family. And she, who always respected the laws before, was denied that. Nobody did anything wrong, and still all they say is no. That’s just not what we do. And they won’t budge, won’t consider the rules, and she grows so desperate that she puts the man she loves – and who loves her – under a love spell to flee to a country that lets them be? And that’s only part one, because it just wouldn’t work, and of course she knew that. So, now. Who is the only one offering change? The only person giving her hope in this deep desperation of everyone-accepting-the-rules-but-she-cant? What else was she supposed to do, if you think about it? This choice was deep, well constructed, so dramatic and heartbreaking but true. It shows what love can do to someone, for the good and bad. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen to her now.
Wands Into the Earth
Look, I don’t even want to talk about Nicholas Flamel. The man is immortal. What good is that if he can barely walk? The man has a badass wife. Why wasn’t she even mentioned? Anyway. The spell Finite is to finish another incantation, not producing fire. The whole thing didn’t make sense, which ruined the visuals a bit for me because yeah, they were pretty cool. I also noticed that out of those that didn’t go with Grindelwald, everyone lost someone they loved. And here, Grindelwald showed his cruelty, and it was pretty scary how easily he took so many aurors out of the running (but of course never our main characters. We know. Leta better survived somehow.) Newt hugging Theseus was also emotional. “He likes to hug everybody”, and now he needed a hug. From his brother. Sniff.
Restoring Your Name
Frankly, I reject this scene. Classic Cursed Child style. It didn’t happen. “Aurelius Dumbledore” my ass. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. Dumbledore’s parents were dead when he was still a boy, it’s impossible that he has another brother (that wasn’t mention in his whole family history reveal in HP) more than half his age younger. It just doesn’t work logically, not to mention that Credence is SO not a Dumbledore. Actually, I like him less and less. No. I genuinely hope this is just something Grindelwald is feeding him to keep him on his side. And don’t even come at me with the ridiculous made-up-phoenix-thing about the family. If that was Fawkes, btw, I’m revolting. Can you tell I really hated this revelation? It’s stupid.
Sooo now it was revealed the vial was a blood pact. Aha. For a second I thought Dumbledore would just crack it with his hands or under his heel, lmao. And yeah, then, that was that. So. Why was this movie called “Crimes” of Grindelwald? We barely saw him commit one. The Lost Brother or something would have been more fitting imo. But yeah. Here we are. All in all, I found it a bit weak from JRK. It felt like HP recycled. A dark wizard, going to overthrow muggles, expose the magical community, collecting his followers on a freaking graveyard (other places exist), incompetent ministry, Dumbledore pulling the strings, Newt must go, blah blah, yeahhh I get why but still, the first movie felt so original and different. I missed that here.
I will see it again in English (finally) on Wednesday. Until then, leave me ALL your magical thoughts in the comments!