After waiting two years for this sequel, I was finally able to see the film last night in a 3D iMax, which made the experience even better. I have a lot of thoughts so I thought I’d write a review. The first half of this will be spoiler free, but then I’ll put a heading up to let you know not to keep reading if you haven’t watched the film yet.
I apologise in advance for how much of a mess this review is, I tried to order it as best I could.
It’s hard not to feel the excitement I felt as a little kid when I am still able to go into the cinema now and hear the Harry Potter theme play over the Warner Brothers’ logo. What is immediately apparent with these films is that they are a more adult version of Potter. Not that Harry Potter isn’t for adults too, of course it is, but the Fantastic Beasts films start a lot darker than Harry’s earlier years at Hogwarts.
I loved that we saw the return of all of our favourite characters again, especially Jacob because I loved him in the first film. I adore Newt, I think Eddie Redmayne is the perfect choice to play him, he is such an excellent actor. He really makes Newt his own special character, he reflects him perfectly and makes him oh so loveable. Also Jude Law as a young Dumbledore received a big thumbs up from me, I loved what he did with the character!
It felt like the characters had gone through quite a change since we last saw them, Tina especially seems to have rather Matrixed up. She looked quite severe with her dark coat and blunt hair cut, but I can see why they made this change with her. The familiarity with these characters has changed a little too, as they’ve gone through new experiences since we last saw them, they certainly aren’t the same as they were in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
A really minor criticism from me on the casting in this film, as much as I love everyone and think they fit the characters very well. I was disappointed to see that whilst this film has gone out to include diversity in the race of the characters, this didn’t seem to be extended to their body image. Half way through the film I realised I was looking at every female main character with a ting of jealousy, because they were all stick thin. I don’t even want to be stick thin, but seeing these women with their tight dresses and tiny little waists, made me feel a little big. I am a size 12, I’m dot on average, I am not big. But rarely in this film did I see a woman of also average size. I know this is incredibly nit picky of me, but I would have really liked to see some representation that you don’t have to be stick thin to be an actress or to be in this film. (I do understand that this is attempting to be a representation of women at the time, but women weren’t exclusively thin at this time.)
The fantastic beasts
Personally I would love a whole film exploring Newt’s magical rooms. We got to meet some new creatures in this one, but I wanted more. There were baby Nifflers and I wanted to give them tiny little cuddles, they were so cute! Instead of seeing inside of the suitcase again, Newt has a very, very large basement under his house that we were able to explore a little. I want to see every corner and meet every creature, I want to know how Newt manage to home them all.
The use of magic
I love the magic used in these films because it’s new and different from the spells we saw being taught at Hogwarts. We were never really able to see magic being used in the real world in Harry Potter. But Newt is the perfect wizard to show us how he can dry himself in seconds with magic, follow someones footsteps with a spell and use his wand as a hearing device. Every time a new spell is used I was very excited, I think we became a bit used to Expelliarmus and Accio in the Harry Potter films.
Before I enter the spoilers section of this review, let me make it clear that I adored this film. I left with a big smile on my face and I would highly recommend going to see it!
I’ve seen other reviews talking about how the plot of this film let it down. I can see where these reviews were coming from, because at times it felt like the plot was all over the place. We know the Grindelwald is bad because of what we have been told and what we know from previous films, but we didn’t really get to see his evil. He never really did anything himself, but had others do it for him. Second hand evil? And was this about destroying Grindelwald or finding Credence?
Who is Credence and the Lestrange family tree
When it came to finding out who Credence was there were so many different directions that was heading. When we had the Lestrange family tree reveal I think it all got a little too confusing. I am still a little perplexed now as to how they’re all related to each other. Yusuf comes in as Leta’s half brother who she believed to be dead? Have I got that right? And then they think that Credence is also Leta’s brother, but he isn’t as he was swapped as a baby and Leta’s real brother drowned. Is this it? See it was quite confusing! Also were they on board the Titanic when that baby drowned? I really hope not, because that all felt a little cliche
and silly if they were.
Okay I’ll stop rambling about the Lestrange family tree and just accept that there’s a lot of them…
But anyway none of this matters too much as it turns out that Credence is actually a Dumbledore, which I saw coming a little once that baby Pheonix came to him. Bit of a different twist though, so I’m interest to know where they’re going to take that in the future. I’m pleased to think that we’ll be seeing more of the Dumbledore’s story though, to give a bit of a backstory to a character we only knew in one stage of his life.
Back to happier times, like arriving at Hogwarts. The reaction in the audience when the Harry Potter music started playing and Hogwarts was in view was amazing. Everyone loved it, I felt a spark of my childhood again! It was really exciting to see the castle back and to see the teachers we know as a lot older, to be teaching in their younger years. It’s really cool too to know that they film the Hogwarts scenes at Lacock Abbey, which is ten minutes from my house and I went to watch from the outside as they filmed some of this (mind you all I saw was vans and crew).
Finally, the ending of this film. Now for me, the minute that Niffler limped out from behind the bush, my heart melted. But before that point, I was on the edge of my seat, the suspense and the action of the final battle scenes was very well done. I really enjoyed seeing all of these wizards working together to defeat this one evil, united by a common cause and a common pain. This part in iMax was amazing, the sound was so clear and loud that I really felt the affects of it in the sudden silence that followed. Another reminder that these are adult wizards, they know what they are doing, they are not being taught still.