“Fantastic Beasts 2” goes hand in hand with the farewell to Johnny Depp as the villain Grindelwald. Is it at least an unforgettable one?
Around two and a half years after its cinema release, “Fantastic Beasts: Grindelwald’s Crimes” can be seen on free TV on April 4th (8:15 pm, Sat.1). The film by director David Yates (57) is the second of five planned prequels for the “Harry Potter” series – and retrospectively the last film in which the villain Gellert Grindelwald is played by Johnny Depp (57). Although he had already shot scenes for the third part, due to the verdict in a court case against the British tabloid “The Sun”, which has degenerated into a war of roses against his ex-wife Amber Heard (34), it was unceremoniously brought about by character mime Mads Mikkelsen (55) replaced.
That’s what it’s about
A few months after the events of Part One, magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne, 39) tries to get his travel permit back in London. The problem: In return, those responsible at the Ministry of Magic demand that Scamander work with them – and thus with his brother, the auror Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner, 31). Newt firmly refuses, as does the request of his former Hogwarts teacher Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law, 48) to go to Paris for him. Not only the Ministry, but Dumbledore also knows that Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller, 28), endowed with his dark, destructive power, is now in France.
Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is also looking for Credence. The powerful wizard was able to escape from his prison and wants to use Credence’s power to realize his plan of a world in which wizards rule over muggles. After all, Newt goes to Paris, but out of love. He learned from his friends Queenie (Alison Sudol, 36) and Jacob (Dan Fogler, 44) that Auror Tina (Katherine Waterston, 41) was on the heels of Grindelwald.
Meanwhile, Grindelwald is scrambling around with his comrades-in-arms in Paris, while Credence is looking for his birth mother and his identity. Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz, 32), Newt’s former flame and current fiancée of his brother, and the magician Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam), who is also in Paris looking for Credence, also keep a dark secret. At the end there is a visually stunning showdown between Newt and his colleagues and Grindelwald …
It is not only in the last big fight of the film that it becomes clear how dark “Fantastic Beasts: Grindelwald’s Crimes” comes across. There is hardly a ray of hope in the Paris of the 1920s that the film paints. Meanwhile, Grindelwald completely envelops the city in blackness.
The strip is packed not only with dark pictures and special effects, but also with characters. In addition to the important characters, there are a lot of appearances that don’t really advance the plot, and some of them are more of a gift to the “Harry Potter” fans. Voldemort’s “snake” Nagini (Claudia Kim, 36) can be seen here as Maledictus in still human form. Most Potter fans should also ring the bell for the name Lestrange. Just like at Hogwarts. The short trips to the magic school and the flashbacks delight the audience with friendly and bright pictures for a change. The Spiegel Nerhegeb also reveals how close the two great magicians Dumbledore and Grindelwald actually are.
On the other hand, many of the supporting actors who shone in the first part remain pale. Not only Scamander’s animals play a subordinate role, Jacob, Queenie and Tina are also not really allowed to shine in their roles. There remains the big stars of the film, Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp and Jude Law, who do not disappoint. Depp as a dark wizard is just as convincing as Jude Law – even if Albus Dumbledore is strolling through Hogwarts in a three-piece suit instead of in his wide robes and one wishes to be able to witness the point in time when he experiences this radical change in fashion.
Hopefully Dumbledore, Grindelwald and their interesting relationship will be even more central in part three, which is currently announced for July 2022. Especially since the sudden actor swap from Depp to Mikkelsen was carried out. As is well known, the Danish actor is a master at embodying complex villains, be it “Bond” villain Le Chiffre or cannibal Hannibal Lecter.
“Grindelwalds Verbrechen” scores with visually stunning effects, great actors and nice allusions to the original franchise. In terms of plot, the film, which is overloaded with characters and not very magical, is less convincing in places. In the end, it is only the second of five planned films. However, with an ending that makes you want to continue …