I cannot believe that it was already two years since I watched Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them in the cinema, although it feels like it happened just a month ago. If you know and read more of the articles I have written, you’d know that I am a massive fan of the Wizarding World and therefore this review might be a bit biased. But it is still hard to ignore the flaws that other people see in this movie and I do think they have a solid point. But more about the flaws later, let us first look at the story:
The year is 1927 and it is some time after Newt Scamander helped MACUSA with capturing Gellert Grindelwald. Grindelwald is now being transferred to the Ministry of Magic in London in a highly secured carriage to be tried for his crimes in Europe. But the security has no effect when Grindelwald and one of his followers, Abernathy, have apparently switched places prior and both escape using the transfer carriage.
Three months later, Newt is at the Ministry of Magic to restore his international travel rights. The Ministry only wants to give his travel rights back if he agrees to work for them alongside his brother Theseus to locate Credence Barebone in Paris who is apparently still alive. Newt declines because he refused to pick a side. During his visit to the Ministry, he meets Leta Lestrange, an old Hogwarts friend who is now engaged to his brother and whom many believe to be the sister of Credence. After leaving the Ministry, Newt is summoned by Dumbledore, who also asks Newt to find Credence in Paris.
Newt returns home to discover that Queenie and Jacob have unexpectedly arrived. Jacob has retained most of his memories from New York as the ordered city-wide Obliviation only affected bad memories, and his were mostly good. But because he doesn’t want to marry Queenie due to the marriage ban between wizards and muggles, Queenie has put him under a love spell. When Newt relieves Jacob from the spell, Jacob and Queenie have a fight and Queenie leaves to find Tina in Paris (who is searching for Credence). Hoping to reconcile with the women, Newt and Jacob follow them to Paris.
In Paris, Tina searches for Credence at a wizarding freak show. Credence and another circus attraction, Nagini, a young woman who can transform into a snake, escape after causing a distraction during the show. They are searching for Credence’s birth mother, who gave birth to Credence while living in Paris. But they only find the servant who put him up for adoption and is therefore listed as his mother in his adoption papers. The Auror who got Newts declined job at the Ministry turns out to be working for Grindelwald and kills the servant. This causes Credence to lose control and sets free his obscurial with the intention to kill the Auror.
Meanwhile, Tina meets Yusuf Kama, another interested party looking for Credence. Newt and Jacob follow Yusuf to Tina, and Yusuf explains that he made an Unbreakable Vow to kill Credence, who he believes is his stepbrother and the last of the Lestrange family.
Newt and Tina infiltrate the French Ministry of Magic for documents to confirm Credence’s identity and are discovered by Leta and Theseus. They have to flee to escape and their search leads them to the Lestrange family tomb located at one of Paris’ cemeteries. Yusuf followed them there, where also Credence and Nagini are.
Yusuf explains that he and Leta have the same mother, and that she didn’t survive the birth of her younger brother (Credence) and that he made the Unbreakable Vow to his father to revenge the death of his only love. But then Leta reveals that she switched her infant brother with another baby while being on board of the Titanic. When the ship sunk, her real brother drowned and she was left with baby Credence. The trail to the Lestrange tomb was apparently fabricated to lead Credence to the tomb, where Grindelwald is holding a rally for his followers. Jacob finds Queenie there.
At the rally, Grindelwald preaches “freedom” from laws forcing wizards to remain hidden from Muggles, and uses future images of World War II to show what Muggles will do if nothing changes. Led by Theseus, Aurors surround the rally, but Grindelwald lets his followers apparate before they can be captured. Grindelwald casts a circle of blue flame to divide followers from enemies. Credence and Queenie cross to join him despite protests from Nagini and Jacob. Leta appears to also swear allegiance but instead attacks Grindelwald to allow Newt, Tina, Jacob, Yusuf, Nagini, and Theseus to escape, sacrificing herself.
As Grindelwald escapes, the remaining wizards unite with the help of Nicholas Flamel to defeat Grindelwald’s blue fire and save Paris. Newt and the others travel to Hogwarts where Newt presents Dumbledore a vial taken from Grindelwald, which contains the blood pact Dumbledore and Grindelwald made to each other. This is also the reason why Dumbledore can’t move against Grindelwald. Fleed somewhere to Austria, Grindelwald reveals that Credence’s real name is actually Aurelius Dumbledore, making him a brother of Albus Dumbledore. A baby bird Credence had been caring for is revealed to be a phoenix, a bird that comes to any member of the Dumbledore family when in need.
Like I said before, it is very hard to make something Wizarding World related that I don’t like. However even I acknowledge some of the flaws of this movie. I read in other reviews that people find this movie very confusing with the plot being all over the place. And I do agree with this at some point. Especially in the beginning, we follow Tina, Newt, Queenie, and Credence all at the same time. And because the transition was a bit vague at times, it was confusing to who you were watching now. But I wouldn’t as far to say that the plot was horrible.
Next to this, there were some facts established in the Harry Potter books that the movie loosely dealt with:
- Newt uses Accio to retrieve one of his baby Nifflers, but Accio only works on inanimate objects.
- McGonagall is portrayed in the film as a professor at Hogwarts in 1927, while she is actually born in 1935.
- Dumbledore looks in the Mirror of Erised and sees Grindelwald and him making the blood pact, while the Mirror is supposed to show the deepest. most desperate desire of our hearts.
- It is shown that Dumbledore and Grindelwald made the blood pact when they were teenagers, but this means that Ariana Dumbledore can never be killed in a battle between the two. However, if I look at their ages, Dumbledore and Grindelwald were respectively 18 and 16 when Ariana died, so it is definitely possible that the made the pact right after Ariana’s dead.
Overall, I don’t think it is a bad movie and it is certainly fun entertainment to watch. So, therefore, I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars!