"The gravest case of prequel-itis since The Phantom Menace".
The first reviews for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald have been revealed, and it seems like the wizarding sequel is struggling to cast a magic spell.
The second instalment of the Harry Potter prequel sees Eddie Redmayne return once more as magizoologist Newt Scamander. This time around, the action transfers to the streets of Paris as Newt explores the darkened side of wizarding society where sinister forces loom large. None larger, it seems, than Gellert Grindelwald – played by Johnny Depp.
But while it might be darker in tone than its 2016 predecessor, it’s failing to win critics over in the same way.
In a damning two-star review, The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin described it as “the gravest case of prequel-itis since The Phantom Menace”.
“Everything about The Crimes of Grindelwald is inward-looking and self-referential: it smacks of an epic join-the-dots game played across reams of unpublished appendices and footnotes”, Collin stated.
“The result is one of the gravest cases of prequel-itis since Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, in which in place of ordinary storytelling, a chessboard’s-worth of characters and objects are fussily rearranged over the course of two hours plus change, in order to set the stage for whatever comes next.”
Similar criticism came from Digital Spy’s Hugh Armitage, who agreed with Collin’s admission that the film is overloaded with characters.
“Crimes of Grindelwald is a beautiful film, and sure to satisfy Harry Potter fans eager for another slice of Rowling’s magic, but it has a definite case of the mid-series blues. It isn’t boring but, ultimately, it feels like an exercise in manoeuvring chess pieces for the sake of future movies”, Armitage wrote.
“And though the board is very lovely to look at, it won’t go down as one of the stronger entries in the Wizarding World series.”
“Crimes of Grindelwald also has some serious liabilities, the gravest being a misbegotten performance by Johnny Depp as the villain of the title. But unlike the first instalment, which felt like a strained effort to extend Rowling’s brand, this engaging film has a busy, kinetic style of its own.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is set for release on November 16.