Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the worst reviewed movie of the Harry Potter franchise, and looks set to have the weakest box office opening, too. The movie is crammed full of interweaving plotlines and so many characters that it's hard to know what everyone is up to, or indeed, what their purpose is.
In some ways the movie feels like it's telling Newt's story; in others it's all about Grindelwald. In essence, it's meant to be about Credence, since he seems to be the key figure to a lot of the big revelations yet to come. All of this results in a muddled mess - which is a shame, since it could have been so much better.
Given the hype surrounding the movie prior to its release, as well as the heated controversies, it's hard not to feel disappointed by the finished product. Let's take a look at the biggest letdowns in Fantastic Beasts 2.
- This Page: The Love Rectangle and Nagini's Wasted Role
- Page 2: Pointless Characters, More Wasted Characters, and the Queenie/Jacob Conflict
Nagini Is Completely Wasted
When it was revealed that Claudia Kim plays Nagini - Voldemort's future snake - in her human form, there was an awful lot of heated discussion on the internet. Fans were excited that such an overt link to Lord Voldemort was now in the Fantastic Beasts universe, but many were upset that an Asian actress had been cast in a subservient role (that ends in her decapitation). Nagini, we were told, would be part of a traveling circus which Credence (Ezra Miller) is also in. Everyone began to speculate. What would Nagini be like? Is she good, or evil? What is her relationship with Credence? How does she feel, changing back and forth between snake and human?
We still don't know the answers to any of those questions, because despite all the furore surrounding her casting, Nagini barely features in Fantastic Beasts 2. She's on screen a fair amount, but barely speaks, and when she does, it's merely to reassure or comfort Credence. As for the circus, that really has no significance to the movie at all, other than to provide a setting for Nagini and Credence when we first pick up with them. It's likely that Nagini's role will be expanded in forthcoming movies, but we don't know if she will team up with Credence again or decide to stick with Newt, because no one has any idea of her motives. Presumably she has no family, hence why she was in the circus, but other than caring for Credence, what are her thoughts? What drives her? We might never know.
What's The Deal With Theseus, Newt, and Leta?
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it's revealed that Newt (Eddie Redmayne) carries a picture of Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) with him. Despite his obvious attraction to Tina (Katherine Waterston), it's apparent that Leta is a past love whom he still cares for. Fast forward to Fantastic Beasts 2, and Leta is engaged to Newt's older brother, Theseus. Newt is seemingly against Aurors and the Ministry of Magic, and we learn that his biggest fear as a child was having to work in an office. Yet, Theseus and Tina are both Aurors, and Theseus works for the Ministry. Newt tells Tina that his relationship with his brother is complicated, but it's never revealed to the audience exactly how that's come to be.
What's their history? Is Newt the letdown of the family, or is there a move complex reason for the apparent tension and awkwardness? More importantly, why and how is Leta now engaged to Theseus? How does Newt feel about this? We don't know, because we are never told. It's hinted from Kravitz and Redmayne's facial expressions that both regret Leta's situation, but if Theseus was aware of the romantic history between the pair (if there ever was one - because again, it's not clear), then why did he propose? It's apparent that Theseus cares about Newt: enough to warn him that he's being watched by the Ministry, and enough to help him and fight alongside him. The pair embrace when Leta dies, but with no backstory to go on, it's hard to know who's really comforting whom.
Why is Tina Relegated to a Love Interest?
Tina Goldstein was one of the standout characters from the first Fantastic Beasts movie. Her sharp intelligence and determination were an obvious attraction for Newt, who was completely smitten. As he headed back to England to finish writing his book, it seemed as though the pair would keep in touch and eventually romance would blossom. In Fantastic Beasts 2, we learn that Tina mistakenly believes Newt is engaged to Leta, and Newt (being his usual bumbling self) takes a while to correct Tina's misunderstanding. Tina is in Paris to find Credence, as is Newt, but rather than Tina being the strong, feisty, smart and powerful Auror she was in the first movie, here she is nothing more than a sulky love interest. Her appearance serves little more purpose than introducing Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam). Her actions have little bearing or significance on any of the events in Fantastic Beasts 2, and it's a waste of a talented actress. Hopefully, future movies will rectify this, and allow Tina to do interesting stuff while still letting the romance between her and Newt develop.