Ten years ago, it was impossible to predict that J.K. Rowling's field guide Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would become Hollywood's way of milking the Harry Potter franchise. Now, two films into a five-part spin-off saga, it's abundantly clear that these new characters and concepts can't possibly recapture the magic of the original series. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop them from trying.Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is as unfocused as it is sloppy, and the crammed-in elements working against it are countless. The plot builds toward an answer to a question we don't care about, a reveal that is more of a head-scratcher than the question itself. Grindelwald is largely absent from this quest; instead, he lurks, sending his stalwarts to drop breadcrumbs for the character around whom the mystery swirls. The film inadvertently becomes less about the eponymous villain and more about selling characters and concepts that muddy Rowling's mythos. It's an unmitigated mess made worse by the fact that none of it makes a lick of sense.
With a fandom as passionate as the Harry Potter group, that's just a bad idea on all counts.
CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: DAVID YATES / SCREENPLAY: J.K. ROWLING / STARRING: JOHNNY DEPP, KEVIN GUTHRIE, CARMEN EJOGO, WOLF ROTH, EDDIE REDMAYNE, ZOË KRAVITZ, CALLUM TURNER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW