Reviewing a movie which a sequel or prequel to some other movies is a bit hard. Some people would love to see the correlation between the two or more movies, or as part of bigger universe. Some, like me, it was not really a priority. This is the case for Fantastic Beasts. Not only it was a sequel to previous movie, it also a part of Harry Potter universe (as a prequel). For me, while watching this kind of movie my priority was, first is the movie itself, second, the movie as a prequel/sequel and third, the movie as part of bigger universe. Therefore, that is how I will review this film.
Throughout the 2 hours of the movie, I enjoyed it immensely. The story wasn’t brilliantly written per se as it still is a second movie for supposed to be five in total. However, what it gave through this movie, I enjoy it and it was good enough. It continue the story of the first Fantastic Beasts, whereas Grindewald was caught toward the end of the first movie, making a great escape and free to roam once again. Credence Barebone which also a returning character will play a big part in this movie as Grinedewald is looking for him to harness the ‘power’ he got in the first movie. Sent by Albus Dumbledore, Newt Scamender went to Paris in searching for Credence.
After the introduction in the first movie, in this second movie you start to get more background story especially about Grindewald, Credence and Newt. You will start to see the politics of the world and how Grindewald thrive under skewed rhetoric. Much like real world, if I might add. For me the interesting part of this movie is everyone is searching for something, or someone which keep the pace good enough and manage to keep it suspenseful. I also like all the characters, returning or new. The introduction was done well except for Leta Lestrange which for me could be done better and not “in your face” kind of introduction. I also not really agree with how it handle Queenie Goldstein character. I understand her motivation, however it was done kinda rush and I hope it was part of bigger plot. Other than that, not much to complaint for me.
The acting was great, the action sequence is magical, literally and for me it was done well. If you look with microscopic view you might find fault but I’m not really have any problem with the production quality of this movie. Everything just look great. I do however, find the ending was a bit letdown, it was great, but I still feel the ending a bit hanging you to dry. Even the first movie finish with much more ‘closure’. After I finish the movie, I really feel like I need to press next so that I will play the next episode, it was not much of ending but an opening for the next movie. It give you more question than answer but I guess that how it work for this kind of movie.
So how does it do in comparison to previous movie? It much better, if you like the first movie, you love this one. In the first movie, I kinda not warming up to Newt as a main character. However in this second movie, I start to like him a bit more, it is more clearer in term of “who he is”. This movie, even though the plot going to other way, but they still managed to keep the sense of “Fantastic Beasts” by introducing new ‘beasts’ or returning and add them into the plot really well.
I guess for third one, I need to address the elephant in the room. J.K. Rowling just play with lore and she might have failed. Before I going to that, in comparison how does this movie compare to other movie in this universe, all Harry Potter movies, I would say it still unable to match any of the Harry Potter movies. Doesn’t mean it was any less fun, but if put side by side, it still lacking even though Fantastic Beasts have more firepower in term of CGI wizardry.
So the plot hole, or rather the lore hole. Without spoiling too much, there are two main problem with the story. First, the appearance of the young Minerva Mcgonagall or as we all familiar as Professor Mcgonagall which in term of timeline doesn’t make any sense. Based on the books, she wasn’t supposed to be born yet during the event of this movie. For this J.K. Rowling need to explain, however she might not because it may involved a plot for future film. Either way, I’m not really bother that much. It suck the lore is change or something, but I never really care that much to make me enjoy this movie any less. I guess hence the reason why I enjoy the new Star Wars.
Second issue, this one is kinda hard to explain without spoiling it. So I would say that, once it revealed who Credence actually was, it also make no sense if you know the history of that family. However, compare to Mcgonagall, this one is easier to accept. It might very well not the one who you think or even not the actual truth. For this case, I don’t think J.K. Rowling will explain it, because I believe it will involved plot point for future film. Again, even if it doesn’t, it still doesn’t bother me much. It might for you but not me though.
In overall, this movie is just a second out of five so it will not give you much of conclusion as much it would give you questions. I wish it was handled better but it does make me excited for next one. The whole movie was fun, they managed to use the “Fantastic Beasts” well even though the plot going into other direction. Everything look awesome, the spell, the effect, the environment, the building so on and so forth. I would definitely encourage you to watch it and you may enjoy a bit more if you not really deep into the Harry Potter lore.