Relax, Grindelwald's greatest crime isn't ruining Harry Potter
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has been out for almost three weeks now and you would be forgiven for thinking it had smashed the Harry Potter universe into a million pieces and used the remains to create a Twilight homage. Such has been the outpouring of fury at the latest instalment in the Wizarding World universe that it has whipped up a storm of social media rants to rival Brexit.
So let me be the latest person to say this - relax, it's going to be fine.
Before I get into why I don't think Crimes of Grindelwald is for Harry Potter what Jar Jar Binks was for Star Wars' supporting characters, let me address one complaint which has popped up a few times. Harry Potter has lots of fans, most of whom are very keen on the mythology and the characters. JK Rowling's Twitter account and Pottermore have given us all more insight than we have ever had before on a cultural phenomenon like this and, as a result, we are very invested in the universe as we know it.
This passion though has given rise to the single best series of complaints ever levelled at a fantasy series: This story line is unrealistic.
The final twist and other reveals in the film have got fans up in arms about how they don't make sense or fit with the universe's history. Ignoring the obvious fact that none of this is realistic, it is all being dreamed up by JK Rowling. She is writing and controlling this. She wrote and created this universe originally; she can't get it wrong. It's her universe. You might disagree, you might not like it, but it's not wrong.
In the creative team's defence, they have even gone to the effort of pretending, through the foreword to the 2017 edition of the Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them book, that there was an Official Magical Secrets Act placed on the Grindelwald/Dumbledore portion of history which expired in 2017.
So they are trying; if you're not happy with it then maybe it's time to remember they're kids' stories. Don't take them so seriously.
Now that's out of the way, I genuinely think we can all take a moment's breather about this film. Sure it doesn't run cleanly and some characters get a bit lost in the shuffle, but this film is a shuffle. We are not watching the beginning or end of a story, this is the middle. Most of the characters are being moved into positions they need to be in for the finale - and there is a long way still to go.
For myself, I enjoyed seeing more of Eddie Redmayne's wonderfully awkward and accessible Newt at the helm, I was disappointed we didn't get more of Tina, Jacob and Queenie, but Jude Law strayed into Heath Ledger territory with how much I enjoyed him as Dumbledore. We got some nice stuff from the creatures as a couple of them played pivotal roles and we got a good - if uncomfortable - look at how and why Grindelwald (who we have been hearing about for years) was such a success.
This film has grossed millions and is not about to put the brakes on the franchise, which means we are going to get to see how this plays out. We can't fully judge it until the end and I'm going to put my faith in the hands which steered us this far. Not liking the film is fair enough, some people didn't like Empire Strikes Back, but let's not go all Michael Gambon eh?
For now, let's take a breath, relax and wait for the next instalment. And if you can't get over people messing with your image of the Harry Potter universe...
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros, Pottermore and Wizarding World