REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ is a monster you can’t help but love

Promotional artwork for Warner Bros. Picture's "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald."

“Harry Potter” fans will dutifully head to the cinema this week for the second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series that details the history preceding the original seven-book, eight-movie saga.

A longtime “Harry Potter” fan, I found “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” to be more of an enjoyable watch than its predecessor, which was somewhat disorienting in plot and setting.

However, since this movie had many of the characters already established, less time was spent on character development, which allowed the plot to advance smoothly.

Also, Newt Scamander, the endearingly awkward connoisseur of fantastic beasts, takes a backseat for more interesting characters to be showcased for most of the movie.

From a cinematographic perspective, the beasts that were featured were visually interesting, but I cannot fathom why they are still included in the title.

I suppose it is only for the sake of continuity with the preceding movie title. Beside the fan-favorite Niffler, the other creatures are largely superfluous to the plot.

To be perfectly honest, the only storyline most fans are really interested in at this point is the long awaited backstory of Dumbledore and the infamous dark wizard Grindelwald. And though Grindelwald is undoubtedly a beast, he is hardly fantastic.

One thing that pleasantly surprised me about the movie was the multiplex nature of Grindelwald’s character. Movies have come a long way from the cliché, clear-cut good-versus-evil dichotomy seen overwhelmingly in most fantasy stories. “Crimes of Grindelwald” shows corruption on both sides of the conflict, with Newt virtuously asserting, “I don’t do sides.”

Grindelwald personifies the classic moral dilemma of whether or not the ends justify the means. It is revealed his goal is to ultimately save the world from the destruction humankind will bring through world war, but the means by which he is willing to accomplish his goal are excessively cruel and deplorable.

The main purpose of “Crimes of Grindelwald” is ultimately to set up the stage for the inevitable showdown between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.

Though fans like myself already know the outcome of the historic duel in this fantasy world, the entertainment value of getting to see it play out onscreen is undeniable.

A new character to the series, Leta Lestrange, hit the nail right on the head with her warning to Newt: “You’ve never met a monster you couldn’t love.”

Despite its many flaws, most of which I can’t mention without spoiling the movie, “Crimes of Grindelwald” will undoubtedly gratify the extensive fanbase of the series, providing a nostalgic yet distinguishable fix.

Rebecca Vrbas is junior in journalism. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to

My name is Rebecca Vrbas. I’m the culture editor at the Collegian and a junior in journalism and mass communications. My hobbies include obsessing over an ever-expanding pool of musicals and cats (not the musical). I love writing because of the infinite intricacy of language, as well as its power to cultivate a sense of community through sharing experiences.