J.K. Rowling just can’t resist introducing a political subtext into her scripts. It gives her fantasies a resonance that movies for kids don’t ordinarily have, and enables them to crossover to adults. At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped, and in this sequel sets about gathering followers, most ignorant of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt, who agrees to help unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world. Sound familiar?
“…what Grindelwald has is a great deal of story. The movie is chockablock with stuff: titular creatures (if not nearly enough), attractive people, scampering extras, eye-catching locations, tragic flashbacks, teary confessions and largely bloodless, spectacular violence. It’s an embarrassment of riches…” — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“It offers up dazzling feats of sorcery and realms of wonderment…” — Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
“…takes a turn for the dark side that will satisfy the franchise’s adult fans…” — Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post
Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol
Warner Bros. Pictures