Eppler: Greatest crime of "Grindelwald" is wasting our time - FOX34 Lubbock

Eppler: Greatest crime of "Grindelwald" is wasting our time

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The number one Google search last weekend had to be: "Crimes of Grindelwald explained" because it is one convoluted mess. People walking out of the theater with me (including my wife) were literally on their phones while credits rolled - scouring Potter fan pages looking for answers. 

"Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" is a movie where a lot appears to happen, but not much actually does. After more than two hours, a few characters have chosen sides for some later battle, and we've learned, well, I'm not sure what. The final quarter of this movie is a trainwreck of exposition, double crosses, mistaken identities, blood oaths, and a lot of explaining it all without really explaining anything or giving us a reason to care. There's literally a climactic scene where characters stand around pointing wands and yelling their backstories at each other.

J.K. Rowling, for all her imagination, has put the emphasis on world building, continuity and fan service over narrative in her screenplay. It's a shame because there's actually more to enjoy in this "Fantastic Beasts" movie than the previous one. 

 After Johnny Depp's Grindelwald escapes from prison in a thrilling opening sequence, Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander gets orders from Jude Law's Sexy Dumbledore to stop his sinister plans (Law, by the way, is fantastic here). 

The MacGuffin of the movie - the thing everyone is after - is a mopey kid played by Ezra Miller who may have secrets, but really just wants to know who his mommy and daddy are. 

There's a pretty decent detective story buried under a mound of subplots, but at least the movie looks great and the Wizarding World still has some magic left in it. Rowling's politics are pretty overt with Grindelwald even holding a Make Wizards Great Again rally. 

But forget Grindelwald's crimes. This movie commits the ultimate film felony of wasting our time. Aside from some familiar last names and Easter Eggs to please the hardcore fans, all that's left is an underwritten overly complex story that goes nowhere. 

EPPLER'S RATING: * * 1/2

RATING SCALE

* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful  - The worst, an insult to movies

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