The Crimes of Grindelwald has enough magic to keep Pottermores satisfied, but only just.

The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will always be a memorable movie for me, not because it was a particularly great film (it wasn’t), but because it was my first IMAX experience. The Crimes of Grindelwald surpasses its predecessor and has enough magic to keep Pottermores satisfied, but only just.

The Crimes of Grindelwald picks up from the last movie, with Johnny Depp’s eponymous Grindelwald chained up at the US. He is unleashed into Europe after a thrilling, rain-soaked prison break, orchestrated by some good old Polyjuice Potion. Johnny Depp is brilliant and captivating as the creepy Grindelwald, while Jude Law is a welcome addition to an already impressive cast. Eddie Redmayne’s Newt continues to be the charming, sensitive hero you want to root for.

Newt’s relationship with Tina and his awkward flirtations are delightful and provide a welcome respite, unlike Jacob and Queenie’s sequences which plod along aimlessly. Queenie has no reason being in the movie other than the fact that her legilimens prowess potentially has some significant role to play in the later movies. It is unfortunate we see very less of Jacob’s famous “reactions”. There is a telling new addition in Leta Lestrange, who has an interesting backstory. But most of the movie revolves around different factions of people with vested interests in Credence Barebones, who happens to be the only living entity capable of killing Albus Dumbledore.

The dense plot takes its time to unravel, with a particularly ponderous first half, as we are made to wait an awfully long while for the main characters to apparate to Paris, for the final act. At one point, a kid seated behind me at the multiplex started to pester his mom, “When will they fight?”. He was finally placated when Newt summons the Zouwu, a beast of Chinese origin to fight the Matagots, a beast from French folklore in one of the movie’s many big-budget action extravaganzas. (While these mythos are spot on, it wouldn’t have hurt to have done some research on Nagini.) It was after this particular sequence that the movie finally finds its stride leading to a riveting finale at the Pere Lachaise cemetery.

The biggest question to which both the audience (and the characters themselves) seek answers to is finally revealed at the end, but it feels we are still viewing through a keyhole and there is more to it. I am more inclined to an online theory doing the rounds that [character A] is not the [relationship-type 1] of [character B], but the [relationship-type 2] of [character C], where [character B] and [character C] are [relationship-type 1].

The Fantastic Beasts saga is increasingly resembling the Hobbit trilogy. While providing a great opportunity for us to keep revisiting the magical worlds that we grew to love so much, it is painfully aware that WB is scraping the bottom of the barrel to keep audience milling. The plot would have worked much better if it was packaged in one movie rather than a bloated series spanning several movies.