The second instalment in the promised five films in the Fantastic Beasts franchise is upon us. Set approximately 6 months after the end of the last film this one starts with the escape of Grindelwald before heading to Paris.
Personally I found the opening Fantastic Beasts film a breath of fresh air. It featured accomplished wizards battling each other, an excellent villain in the form of Colin Farrell and some great chemistry from its four heroes. Unfortunately this follow-up threatens to be boring by adding more characters, separating everyone and retreading too many themes from the Harry Potter films.
On top of the entire returning cast we now have a young Dumbledore (a standout Jude Law), Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) and Newt’s brother Theseus (Callum Turner) to name only a few. With all of these new editions and the fact that everyone is split across many locations the exciting and fun group dynamic of the first film is lost. Depp is also nowhere near as good a villain as Colin Farrell was and could yet again be accused of letting his costume be his character again. Speaking of which, the best aspect of this film by far are the costumes. They all look sumptuous.
Story wise, there seems to be an awful lot going on, but very little moving forward. Grindelwald seems to retread everything that Voldemort did in the Potter franchise. It feels like 5 films is far too many given the lack of forward momentum here.
It is not a complete loss though. Potterverse fans will have plenty of lore to dig their teeth into and it is of course full of Fantastic Beasts and magic battles. Lets hope the next instalment is more in line with the first films fun rather than this films bloat.