When it was announced that J.K Rowling herself was going to be involved in a Harry Potter spin-off series fans were delighted. While slightly skeptical at first, after it was revealed to be based upon the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them short stories, the first movie won us over.
We loved Newt, his suitcase and the array of wonderous and unique magical creatures we encountered. Along the way, we also got to see glimpses of a pre wizarding war time, where things were simpler and life was very different.
This glimpse into the past reassured us as we believed Rowling was diving into her backstory, giving us a taste of prequel with a new spin. Then came the second movie. The box office bomb felt like a total departure from the first movie and the changes left fans worried. It did so badly that for a while we thought we wouldn't get any more movies. Now we know we will and we can't decide if we're glad or sad. Here's why.
10 Glad: We Love Newt
Newt Scamander is one of the most endearing characters in the Harry Potter universe. Charming, intelligent, considerate and quirky, his what you see is what you get personality is refreshing. He cares not just for the magical creatures he protects but also for those around him.
With Newt there's no hidden agenda, no malice, and no ulterior motive. He's refreshing, uncomplicated, easy to understand and utterly adorable. Audiences loved seeing the wizarding world through the eyes of someone who cares about its inhabitants. Removing the need to second guess yourself and reminding us of the equally lovable Hagrid, Newt had us cheering for him from the start, and we haven't stopped.
9 Worried: Newt Is Being Sidelined
While we love Newt, in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald, it felt like he was very much sidelined at times. As the focus shifted towards the young Dumbledore and Grindlewald himself Newt played a far less major role and the movie suffered because of it.
Newt is not a traditional hero. He isn't a man of violence and constant action but it's the reason we were so taken with him. After the intense drama of the Harry Potter franchise, the lower-key pace was enjoyable and different. Now, instead of discovering more about the Wizarding World we find ourselves wishing Newt had more screentime so we could capture that feeling again.
8 Glad: We Can See More Fantastic Beasts
The entire series is called Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. Seeing these amazing creatures is literally what we want and they are in the very name of the franchise. One of the saving graces of the second movie were the adorable Nifflers. These cute creatures with a penchant for shiny things proved very helpful in Newt's journey and reminded us how much we love seeing them.
If the next movie keeps bringing the adorable beasts then we'll keep watching. Throughout the Harry Potter books, there are so many other creatures that we've yet to discover in Fantastic Beasts. We're hoping that more movies will bring more of these magical creatures to life on the big screen.
7 Worried: The Focus Has Shifted
As the second movie came out, it became apparent that the focus had shifted. Moving the emphasis of the movie away from Newt and his work and onto the wider wizarding world has changed the tone of the franchise. It's become more about Dumbledore, Grindlewald and the larger wizarding war.
Now, instead of the quirky spin-off we expected, it feels like we're watching a poor man's version of Harry Potter. While any movie with Newt in it would need to reference the events of the time, by focusing so heavily on them so quickly we are losing sight of both Newt and his fantastic beasts after only one movie.
6 Glad: Jude Law Is An Excellent Young Dumbledore
While not necessarily behind the shift in focus, we can acknowledge that Jude Law is doing a great job of playing a young Dumbledore. He has picked up some of the quirks fans would expect to see and has so far done a great job of conveying a younger, slightly more naive Dumbledore, not yet scarred by the events of the wizarding war.
There has been an outcry over the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindlewald, but no such issues with Jude Law. His performance saved many of the more awkward moments in the second movie and he's proved himself worthy of the role. Given a better script, Law would no doubt shine even brighter.
5 Worried: Dumbledore's Character Is Being Watered Down
We may not question the ability of Jude Law to play Dumbledore but many are questioning how J.K. Rowling has chosen to write his backstory. All the way back in 2007 J.K. Rowling herself proclaimed that Dumbledore is gay, and had been involved in a deeply passionate relationship with Grindlewald.
While we aren't expecting the PG-13 franchise to contain explicit scenes, we've yet to see any hint whatsoever of a relationship between the two characters. There was no mention, no nod, and no chemistry between the two at all when they shared screentime.
It's as if the intense and passionate relationship Rowling was so adamant happened has been completely ignored, making many fans of the LGBTQ+ community especially feel cheated out of an opportunity to portray an alternative relationship in a prominent franchise.
4 Glad: There's An Opportunity To Bring It Back
After the success of the first movie it would be really sad if Newt was just abandoned, with his legacy being the terrible sequel everyone hated. Another movie gives everyone involved a chance to save the franchise and bring back all the elements we loved from the first installment, with more Hogwarts.
While wider events need to be addressed, the franchise can still be saved, if it's done correctly. We can only hope that Rowling has learned from the critical slating the second movie got and taken on board the comments of fans. We're still hopeful that the franchise can combine a peek into wizarding history with Newt's personal story.
3 Worried: It Could Ruin Harry Potter
As we move closer in the timeline to when more and more characters we know and love from the Harry Potter franchise enter the plot there's a greater and greater risk of the backstory from the books being ruined.
Despite Fantastic Beasts being written by J.K. Rowling, the author isn't afraid to mess with her own canon and this rarely ends well. With every extra pushed into the back story, more and more fans become irritated as to how it affects the wider story that they've come to know and love. Too much more and the entire Harry Potter franchise could feel ruined by the spin-off and no one wants that.
2 Glad: Newt's Suitcase Has So Much Potential
The magical suitcase Newt carries with him is like nothing we've seen before. While the tent from Harry Potter was impressive this suitcase is another world, literally. It houses creatures galore in their natural habitats and seems to also have all manner of other uses which it feels like we've only just beginning to see.
The suitcase has us intrigued and we want to see it used to its full potential. It's a truly unique ideal with huge amounts of scope to create some truly breathtaking scenes, reminiscent of those in the first movie. It's an amazing plot device that is being underutilized.
1 Worried: Things Are Likely To Get Dark, Quickly
Now Grindlewald is on the scene, things are about to get very dark, very fast. This period in wizarding history is depressing and we're not sure we're ready for it. One of the reasons the first movie was so enjoyable was because it was exciting but ultimately lighthearted. Now? Not so much.
After the trauma of Voldemort's return, we've not so sure we want to go back into another dark and gruesome wizarding war. Yes, we know it's been 12 years since the last book was published but those scars run deep. You already broke our hearts Rowling and we're not sure we can face it again.