Top critical review
A huge disappointment
2 December 2018
This is the first Wizarding World instalment that I have actively disliked. While there are a couple of moments that capture the whimsy of the first book - such as the baby Nifflers - the rest of this long and convoluted tale can only be described as a hot mess.
First we have the absence of plot. While a lot happens in The Crimes of Grindlewald, it doesn't really have much cohesion. Instead, it came across as a bit of a collection of nods to fans. Did you ever feel that Nagini needed more backstory? Or Dumbledore needed another skeleton in his closet? If so, this is the script/film for you.
Instead, the script takes the time to introduce a whole bunch of secondary characters and attempt to make the reader care about them by giving them stupidly complex backstories. Which doesn't carry an emotional punch, because we know nothing about them. At least the script does a little better than the film in this regard because we have the benefit of stage directions to supply us with character motivations - and in some cases names - which do not come across in the dialogue.
The script is also let down by the abysmal treatment of its female characters. From major female characters who are sacrificed to protect the male protagonists, to ones that just flip their evil switch in the name of "love". I really don't know why Rowling seems to find it so difficult to write believable adult women. Everyone in this book seems to either be a non-entity or conform to a typical archetype.
It also very much came across as being filler, as nothing is resolved in this story. As people have said that there are to be a further three films in this series, I dread to think what the next story will bring...