By Chloe Sladden Turner
On 14th November, I went to an early screening of the highly anticipated, second instalment of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off series.
It started with a screening of the first film, where we meet Newt Scamander, a British Wizard/Hufflepuff who comes to America to see an animal breeder. In New York, his bigger on the inside case of creatures is opened while an Obscurus is haunting the city. He lets muggle Jacob in on his secret case (of magical creatures he keeps to protect them) and soon befriends him, along with Demoted MACUSA Auror Tina Goldstein. She tries to turn in him but later agrees to help him recapture his creatures to avoid high ranking Auror Graves using them as a scapegoat along with her Legilimens sister Queenie (who can read minds) who takes a shine to Jacob. Together, the foursome attempt to save New York.
It ends with Newt agreeing to come back to see, after the Obscurus, revealed to be Credence, was killed by the MACUSA president and the city obligated to forget its and Grindelwald’s attack.
The sequel sees Newt being sent to Paris by a much younger Dumbledore to take down Grindelwald, who he can’t fight against. He is reunited with his American friends, Queenie and Jacob who has his memories back but his girlfriend Queenie gave him a love potion to prevent an argument, eventually leading to a falling out. Queenie is already not speaking to her sister Tina who disagrees with her dating a muggle and Tina not seeing Newt, mistakenly believing he is engaged to his former friend Leta Lestrange, but she’s actually engaged to his older brother, Thesis.
After Newt disagrees to join the ministry as an Auror to lift his travel ban after New York, a younger Dumbledore sends him to Paris, as Dumbledore has a close history with Grindleward and can’t fight against him. So he sends Newt to locate Credence, who went to Circus Arcanus, Paris and who’s now with Nagini, who can transform into a snake at will (and a blood curse carrier which means she will one day permanently turn into a snake) in the circus looking for his real magical family.
Newt eventually agrees and goes to Paris with Jacob to get Queenie back and for Tina after learning she has gone to Paris for the same reasons. However, Grindelwald has escaped and is gaining followers in Paris with an eye on Queenie and Credence. Newt, with his friends, must pick a side in the growing rise of the first Dark Lord.
This sequel is one of the best sequels I have seen yet and is definitely a lot darker than the Harry Potter series. It has a lot of tie-in and secret reveals that link in with the Potter series. Not to mention new magical creatures like the adorable baby Nifflers, and the loveable lion type cat with spikes (who can be tamed by a cat toy on a string) that Newt saves from the Parisian Wizard Circus!
The climactic last scene will leave you heartbroken, and on the edge of your seat as Newt realises he can’t stay in a neutral position forever. Also, the ending sees characters reunited and divided as puzzles are solved and secrets are revealed that even Dumbledore didn’t’ know.
If you only see one film this Christmas-season, make it Fantastic Beasts (2): The Crimes of Grindleward!