'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' is a bloated mess that lacks of the magic of 'Harry Potter' — here's what critics are saying

Warner Bros.Ezra Miller returns for the sequel.

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” comes to theatres Friday, November 16. But early reviews are in, and they’re not so good.

“Crimes of Grindelwald” brings back the majority of the first film’s cast, including Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp and Dan Fogler. But it also introduces a slew of new characters including Jude Law’s Young Dumbledore, Zoë Kravitz as a descendant of the Lestrange family, and Claudia Kim as a woman with a curse, who will eventually turn into Voldemort’s snake Nagini.

Fantastic beasts jude lawWarner Bros.People are excited to see Jude Law as Dumbledore.

The film continues to tell the story of zoologist Newt Scamander (Redmayne), but this time around, the story takes place in Europe instead of the United States, and characters from the “Harry Potter” series weave their way into the movie.

But critics don’t love the film, because it’s too much story and lacks the magic that made the original series so loved. “The biggest riddle in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,'” The Daily Telegraph wrote, “is working out what on earth the film is actually about.”

The film currently has a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, but is subject to change closer to the release date. Here’s what critics are saying.


Although it tries very hard, the film does not capture the feeling that made “Harry Potter” so iconic and beloved.

Warner Bros.Eddie Redmayne returns for the sequel.
“Ironically, for a film series that’s about magic, this lost all sense of magic and whimsy.”
-Dan Murrell, Screen Junkies
“It offers up dazzling feats of sorcery and realms of wonderment and manages to conjure the very opposite of magic.”
-Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

“With its callbacks to the Potter universe and a lovely eye for detail, ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ has bags of intermittent charm and a warm familiarity. But too often, it feels like a beast that’s been overburdened.”

– Olly Richards, Time Out


The clunky screenplay, written by J.K. Rowling, tries to fit way too much in too little time.

Warner Bros.Johnny Depp plays the villain, Grindelwald.
“‘Fantastic Beasts’ assumes a similar level of engagement with its swollen dramatis personae, without allowing the time or putting in the work to earn it.”
-Andrew Barker, Variety
“The story is more dignified and tonally consistent than in the last film…but much of it plays out with just as little weight as Fantastic Beasts’ silliest moments.”
-Tasha Robinson, The Verge
“Rowling has surrendered to her maximalist tendencies and so cluttered up the story that you spend far too much time trying to untangle who did what to whom and why.”
-Manhola Dargis, The New York Times


The movie serves mostly as a reminder of how much better the original story is compared to this one.

Warner Bros.Ezra Miller plays Credence.
“Much like Ron’s broken wand, Rowling’s enchantment is becoming less-and-less dependable by the film.”
-Robert Daniels, 812 Film Reviews

“‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is hampered by the unwieldy meshing together of disparate plots that could service their own films.”

-Kate Erbland, IndieWire


It has no clear purpose, besides building up to a third movie and getting people to the theatre.

Warner Bros.Jude Law as Dumbledore in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.’

“The biggest riddle in ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ is working out what on earth the film is actually about.”

-Robbie Collin, The Daily Telegraph
“While it is possible, if you squint very hard, to make out some of the deeper themes at play here…the real driving force behind ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ seems to be a burning desire to set up a sequel.”
-Angie Han, Mashable
“It’s even less concerned with telling a concise, satisfying story than its predecessor. What’s worse is at almost every turn, it weaves in broad strokes created only to set up the next movie.”
-Germain Lussier, i09

But a few critics liked it, noting that it’s an improvement from the first movie.

Warner Bros.Some critics can’t resist the magic of the Wizarding World.

“‘The Crimes of Grindelwald” has one of the biggest third-act reveals in the whole Harry Potter series.”

-Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post

“It is entrenched in the themes that have always driven J.K. Rowling’s darker passions, and now with a heightened urgency since the kind of dark arts she’s warned against have become more pronounced, on screen and off.”

-David Crow, Den of Geek

“‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’ probably had enough plot to drive a four-hour mini-series, but even so, what we get is often absorbing and grand.”

-William Bibbiani, TheWrap

“Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald” hits theatres starting Friday, November 16.

Watch the film’s trailer below.

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