PG-13 | 2h 14min | 16 November 2018 (USA)
This time I skipped the premiere day as I preferred to watch the sequel in the Fantastic Beasts Franchise in the new IMAX theater in Helsinki. And indeed, it DOES feel like you are part of the movie… hence I can only recommend to experience this one, when possible, via IMAX.
However, I have to point out that part 2 is not as light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek as the first one – it’s much more sinister. Chaos, heartache and destruction… less weird beasts and less weird behavior of those beasts’ protector and scientist Newt Scmanader (Eddie Redmayne). We meet, for example, Newt’s brother Theseus (Callum Turner) and this mysterious woman on Newt’s photo from part 1 (Lita Lestrange, played by Lenny Kravitz/Lisa Bonet-daughter Zoë Kravitz). Some beloved characters return, like Jacob (Dan Fogler), Tina (Katherine Waterston) and Queenie (Alison Sudol) – and Niffler.
We gain some insight about the wizard world and there’s foreshadowing of future events… Although I am familiar with J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter books and movies, I probably missed a lot of hints. What will be surprising for many is this young, fashionable and cool Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). He requests Newt’s help to fight evil Grindelwald (fantastic: Johnny Depp) who endangers not only the wizard but also the Muggle world with his propaganda and plots. Which also hints at the fact that the target audience might rather be on the more mature side… don’t we all know populists like this in real life?
The typical fate of a “middle” movie – there’s a lot yet unexplored, unexplained, open plot lines and you feel irritated… which should not be mistaken as a reflection on the movie quality. There’s nothing left to wish for in this aspect, as veteran Potter director David Yates also pulls the strings here.
However, I’d recommend to watch part 1 first just to understand what’s going on… and I really feel like revisiting all those Harry Potter books and movies again… it also helps to get over the waiting period for part 3.