You’d imagine J.K. Rowling had earned enough goodwill that people might give her the benefit of the doubt.
Yet even before the Fantastic Beasts sequel hit cinemas, the casting caused controversy, a scene in the trailer supposedly broke canon, and the release of the official cast list drew fury as it messed with the timeline established in books/minds.
But J.K writes great mysteries and she doesn’t make it up as she goes along, right?
Well, there are some potential canonical problems here, but it’s only the second film of five. What’s worse is the critical consensus that it’s the worst Potter ever – that it has too many characters and confusing subplots, no clear protagonist, and exists only to set up later chapters.
It opens with an impressive action scene, although Grindelwald was already free, so apparently he just wanted his escape to have a certain degree of flair.
Depp’s Grindelwald is more Black Mass than Captain Jack, but dark magic must take a toll, as Jamie Campbell Bower’s blond, handsome, spindly young wizard is just a mirage in the Mirror of Erised.
Grindelwald’s crimes include cruelty to cute critters (justice for Antonio!), murder, and nearly destroying Paris. He’s also guilty of making hot Dumbledore lovesick and mopey…after they spent a summer together in their teens.
Newt has been convinced by the benignly manipulative Dumbledore to protect Credence – who is trying to discover his origins. And what a way he has – “Hey Newt, you’re not popular, or funny, or charming, but you do what’s right!”
So did Rowling have this sibling twist planned, or did she come up with it between script revisions, à la George Lucas with Luke and Leia?
Well, there was a distinct lack of buildup. Audiences didn’t really finish the first movie speculating about a particular character’s parentage.
Of course Dumbledore always knows more than he lets on. “For the Greater Good” and all that – old ways die hard. Personally, I’ve always suspected he broke his dad out of Azkaban.
It’s fantastic Rowling is enriching the mythology of her world. I hope she stays true to her original vision. It’s a pity she didn’t leave her new franchise simmering in the cauldron for a lot longer.