The Crimes of Grindelwald
is the second of five films to be released in J K Rowling's Wizarding World, a spinoff from the hugely successful
For people like me, who have been dipping their toes into the world of Harry Potter since 1997, (most recently reliving it through children), it is likely to cross your mind at some point during this more than two-hour fantasy extravaganza that plans for a further three films seems ambitious.
Rowling has this on her mind too. Once again she's teamed up with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them director David Yates, (who also directed four Harry Potter films) and the result is a film much like the first.
It's a darkly lit and moody period fantasy mixing lightning-fast action scenes with gently paced conversations that reveal small snippets of information, topped off with a few big clangers, all aimed at encouraging you to line up for the next film.
Without young protagonists to watch grow up, or an emphasis on character development, it's harder to buy into this series than Harry Potter. Jude Law, as a young Dumbledore, and Eddie Redmayne as his former student Newt Scamander go some way to generating sympathy and pulling us into the saga, but the large ensemble cast can be distracting.
Old characters return and less-well-known ones come to the fore; and the same can be said for the beasts, which range from cute to ferocious. The beasts in this sequel tend to be human, led by power-hungry wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp), who escapes prison after being captured at the end of the previous film, and sets about recruiting an army of wizards to overthrow the Muggle world. Depp is surprisingly subdued – thankfully - and sets himself up to be a cool, calm and collected villain in the episodes to come.
If you've never watched or read a J K Rowling book, you'll probably spend a fair amount of time wondering what on earth is happening. For those already locked into her Wizarding World, you won't mind the length and occasionally confusing scenes and will already be theorising about what happens next.
Eddie Redmayne Jude Law and Johnny Depp
Too long and overly complicated but fans will love re-entering Wizarding World.