The Wizarding World franchise expanded into new territory with the Fantastic Beasts films, a prequel series set decades before Harry Potter. But how have these movies held up for fans and critics? If you’re wondering whether the Fantastic Beasts movies are good, you’ll find a thorough evaluation here.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Overall the Fantastic Beasts movies have received mixed but generally positive reviews, though many found the second installment weaker than the first. Fans remain divided on elements like the plotting and new characters, but most praise the visual splendor, production value, and connections to Harry Potter lore.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll assess the critical and fan reception of each Fantastic Beasts installment. We’ll compare the strengths and weaknesses, analyze the overarching narrative, and explore how the movies expanded the magical world.
You’ll also find insight into the controversies surrounding J.K. Rowling and the franchise’s future after the mixed response.
Reception and Response to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling, was met with great anticipation and excitement from fans of the Harry Potter franchise. The film, which serves as a prequel to the events of the original series, introduced audiences to a new set of characters and a whole new magical world.
The reception and response to the movie were a mixed bag, with critics and fans alike sharing their thoughts and opinions on various aspects of the film.
Plot summary and praise
The plot of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them revolves around Newt Scamander, a magizoologist, who arrives in 1920s New York City with a suitcase full of magical creatures. As the creatures escape, chaos ensues, and Newt finds himself on a mission to recapture them.
The film received praise for its imaginative storyline and the way it expanded upon the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling. Fans were particularly delighted to see familiar elements from the Harry Potter series, such as references to Hogwarts and the presence of magical creatures.
While Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had its fair share of positive reviews, some critics had mixed feelings about the film. Some praised the performances of the cast, particularly Eddie Redmayne in the role of Newt Scamander, while others felt that the plot was convoluted and lacked focus.
The film’s darker tone and the introduction of new characters and storylines also divided opinions among critics. However, it is important to note that the movie still managed to achieve a generally positive reception, with many critics acknowledging its strengths and potential.
Fan reaction and key debates
As with any highly anticipated film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sparked a range of reactions from fans. Some fans embraced the new characters and storyline, eagerly diving into the expanding wizarding world.
Others, however, expressed disappointment with certain aspects of the film, such as pacing issues and deviations from the source material. One key debate among fans centered around the casting of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, a character with a significant role in the franchise.
This decision led to heated discussions and divided opinions within the fan community.
Box office performance
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them proved to be a commercial success, grossing over $800 million worldwide. Its box office performance solidified the film’s popularity and set the stage for future installments in the series.
The film’s success can be attributed to the strong fan base of the Harry Potter franchise, as well as the enticing blend of magic, adventure, and nostalgia that it offered. The box office numbers indicated that despite the mixed reception, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them resonated with audiences and left them eager for more.
The Crimes of Grindelwald Critical and Fan Response
Overview of the sequel
The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second installment in the Fantastic Beasts series and sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It was released in November 2018 and was directed by David Yates.
The film follows Newt Scamander as he is recruited by a young Albus Dumbledore to help stop the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald from expanding his power and raising an army of pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings.
Critics’ reviews and ratings
The Crimes of Grindelwald received mixed to negative reviews from professional critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 36% approval rating based on 299 reviews, with the consensus stating it was “cluttered yet confusing” and “overall a disappointment.”
On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100 based on 50 reviews, indicating “mixed or average reviews.” Many felt the story was convoluted and did not properly set up future installments.
Fan critiques and frustrations
Many fans expressed disappointment with Crimes of Grindelwald, critiquing the messy plot, underdeveloped characters, and lack of clear connections to the wider Harry Potter universe. Some felt main protagonist Newt got sidelined while the film focused too much on setting up future sequels.
The reveal about Credence’s origins also frustrated fans. There was also backlash around the casting of a South Korean actress as Voldemort’s Naga ini snake.
Despite unfavorable reviews, Crimes of Grindelwald still performed decently at the box office. On a budget of $200 million, it grossed $654.9 million worldwide. However its total gross was down over $150 million from the first Fantastic Beasts film, indicating diminishing returns for the prequel franchise.
It was ultimately profitable but did not match the high bar set by the Harry Potter films.
Evaluating the Overall Fantastic Beasts Series Direction
Narrative strengths and issues
The Fantastic Beasts series, directed by David Yates, has garnered a mix of praise and criticism for its narrative choices. One of the strengths of the series lies in its ability to expand upon the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling.
The stories introduce audiences to new characters, creatures, and magical elements that were only briefly mentioned in the Harry Potter series. However, some viewers have expressed concerns about the complexity of the plotlines, with multiple story threads sometimes feeling disjointed or overwhelming.
It is important to note that storytelling can be subjective, and what one person may perceive as a strength, another may see as a weakness.
Tone and style comparisons to Harry Potter
The Fantastic Beasts movies have often been compared to the beloved Harry Potter series in terms of tone and style. While the Harry Potter movies had a sense of wonder and magic, the Fantastic Beasts series takes a darker and more adult-oriented approach.
This shift in tone reflects the time period in which the story is set, as well as the more mature themes explored in the Fantastic Beasts movies. Despite the differences, both series share a common thread of exploring the complexities of the wizarding world and the power of love and friendship.
Connecting storylines and references
One of the highlights of the Fantastic Beasts series is its ability to seamlessly connect to the larger Harry Potter universe. Through cleverly placed references and familiar characters, the movies create a sense of continuity and nostalgia for fans.
For example, the character of Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, serves as a bridge between the two series. Additionally, the inclusion of iconic magical creatures, such as the Niffler and the Bowtruckle, adds a delightful touch of familiarity for avid Harry Potter fans.
These connections not only enhance the viewing experience but also contribute to the overall cohesiveness of the franchise.
World building contribution
The Fantastic Beasts movies have made a significant contribution to the world building of the Harry Potter universe. By exploring different regions of the wizarding world, such as New York City and Paris, the series expands the scope and depth of the magical universe.
Additionally, the movies delve into the history and politics of the wizarding community, shedding light on previously unexplored aspects of the magical world. This expansion of the world building adds a richness and complexity to the overall narrative, allowing audiences to delve deeper into the intricacies of the wizarding world.
Controversies Surrounding J.K. Rowling and the Franchise
Comments about transgender people
J.K. Rowling, the beloved author of the Harry Potter series and the Fantastic Beasts movies, has faced significant controversies surrounding her comments about transgender people. Her statements on social media have sparked intense debates and criticism from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
Many argue that her views are transphobic and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. These controversies have had a direct impact on the reception of the Fantastic Beasts movies, with some fans boycotting the franchise in response to Rowling’s comments.
Diversity issues and representation
Another controversy surrounding the Fantastic Beasts movies revolves around issues of diversity and representation. Critics argue that the films lack proper representation of diverse characters, particularly in terms of race and sexuality.
They believe that the franchise has missed an opportunity to showcase a more inclusive and diverse range of characters, which would have resonated with a wider audience. The lack of representation has led to disappointment and frustration among fans who were hoping for more diverse storytelling.
Johnny Depp casting backlash
The casting of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts movies has also been a source of controversy. Following allegations of domestic violence against Depp by his ex-wife, Amber Heard, many fans expressed their disappointment and anger at the decision to keep him in the role.
The backlash against Depp’s casting raised questions about accountability in the film industry and whether actors accused of such serious offenses should continue to be given prominent roles. The controversy surrounding Depp’s involvement has undoubtedly affected the reputation and reception of the franchise.
Impacts on public perception
These controversies surrounding J.K. Rowling and the Fantastic Beasts movies have had a significant impact on public perception. While some fans remain loyal and appreciate the movies for their magical world-building and storytelling, others have become disillusioned with the franchise.
The controversies have sparked debates about separating the art from the artist and the responsibility of creators to be mindful of their public statements. It remains to be seen how these controversies will continue to shape the reception and future direction of the Fantastic Beasts movies.
What Does the Future Hold for Fantastic Beasts?
The Fantastic Beasts franchise has captured the hearts of Harry Potter fans around the world, but what can we expect in the future? Let’s take a closer look at what lies ahead for this magical series.
Planned 5 movie structure
The Fantastic Beasts series was always intended to be a five-movie saga, with each film building upon the previous one to create a cohesive storyline. This ambitious structure allows J.K. Rowling and the filmmakers to explore the rich world of wizardry and expand upon the lore established in the Harry Potter books and movies.
Fans can look forward to delving deeper into the adventures of Newt Scamander and his magical creatures as the story unfolds across multiple films.
With the success of the Harry Potter franchise, it’s no surprise that the Fantastic Beasts movies have the potential for spin-offs. The Wizarding World is vast and filled with fascinating characters and stories waiting to be explored.
Whether it’s a standalone film focusing on a particular character or a series set in a different time period, the possibilities are endless. Fans can rest assured that there is plenty more magic to come beyond the main Fantastic Beasts films.
Will Rowling remain involved?
J.K. Rowling, the beloved author of the Harry Potter books, has been heavily involved in the creation of the Fantastic Beasts movies. She not only wrote the screenplay for the first film but also serves as a producer for the entire series.
Rowling’s creative vision and expertise have been instrumental in bringing the magical world to life on the big screen. While her exact level of involvement in future films remains uncertain, it is highly likely that she will continue to play a significant role in shaping the future of the franchise.
Can it rebound after Crimes of Grindelwald?
The release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald received mixed reviews from both critics and fans. While some praised its visual effects and performances, others felt that the story lacked coherence and failed to live up to the expectations set by the first film.
However, it’s important to remember that even the most successful franchises have their ups and downs. With the talented cast and creative team behind Fantastic Beasts, there is every possibility that future installments will learn from past mistakes and deliver an enchanting and satisfying experience for audiences.
Only time will tell what the future holds for the Fantastic Beasts movies. One thing is for sure, though – the magic of the Wizarding World is far from over. So grab your wand and get ready for more fantastical adventures!
While the Fantastic Beasts series has brought both magical spectacle and fresh connections to beloved lore, its convoluted plotting and controversial elements have challenged Rowling’s usual magic touch.
Yet despite the mixed reception, there remains enthusiasm to see more from this era – if the franchise can recapture the heart and whimsy that Harry Potter is renowned for.
With one film still slated for release, the full tale of Newt Scamander has yet to be told. But the Potter prequels face substantial hurdles to win back fans wavering after The Crimes of Grindelwald. By learning from its missteps, the Fantastic Beasts saga could still conjure some of that familiar Wizarding World wonder.
Ultimately the merits and issues of Fantastic Beasts will continue being passionately debated by the global Potter fandom. Yet despite divided perspectives on these prequel adventures, the powerful hold this magical world retains over millions is perhaps the clearest confirmation that J.K. Rowling’s imaginative brilliance still inspires and captivates at its best.