The latest Fantastic Beasts film The Crimes of Grindelwald has earned mixed reviews from critics.
It has a number of three-star reviews with suggestions that the plot is “overburdened” with details and preparing for future adventures.
There is praise for the “vibrantly drawn” characters and Jude Law is highlighted for his performance as young Dumbledore.
Many agree JK Rowling’s imagination is “as awe-inspiring as ever.”
The second of five planned Fantastic Beasts films by JK Rowling also earns praise for its special effects.
Caryn James in the Hollywood Reporter called it a “vibrant, engaging improvement” on the first Fantastic Beasts film.
“The sequel has better and at times galvanising special effects, a darker tone and a high-stakes battle between good and evil.
“Best of all, its characters are more vibrantly drawn, and tangled in relationships that range from delightful to lethal.”
But she said the film has some “serious liabilities, the gravest being a misbegotten performance by Johnny Depp as the villain of the title”.
Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian gave it three stars out of five and praised “the architectural detail of JK Rowling’s creativity”, calling it “as awe-inspiring as ever”.
“It is just as spectacular as the wonderful opening film, with lovingly realised creatures, witty inventions and sprightly vignettes.”
But he said that he “couldn’t help feeling that the narrative pace was a little hampered, and that we are getting bogged down, just a bit, in a lot of new detail.”
He singled out Jude Law’s performance as young Dumbledore saying he “shines in a saggy sequel”.
Olly Richards in Time Out awarded three out of five stars. He says the film “has bags of intermittent charm and a warm familiarity. But too often, it feels like a beast that’s been overburdened”.
Andrew Barker in Variety added that “real magic is in short supply in this cluttered expansion of the Harry Potter franchise”.
“The film throws plenty of plot twists, loud noises, and multihued magical nebulae at us, but rarely is there much tension, or sense of adventure, or any real longing, just the feeling of watching one chess piece after another being moved into position.”
Empire Magazine‘s Ian Freer agreed, saying “you can’t help feel The Crimes Of Grindelwald is still treading water until future chapters”.
He gave the film three stars and hoped for more from the Dumbledore and Grindelwald relationship.
“The vaunted appearance of young Dumbledore, Jude Law bringing tweed and a twinkle to a more mischievous take on the professor.
“The question of Dumbledore’s sexuality is coyly suggested rather than heartily expressed – if it’s passed you by Dumbledore is gay, you still might be none the wiser.”
Robbie Collin in the Daily Telegraph gave just two stars out of five, saying “the biggest riddle in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is working out what on earth the film is actually about.”
But Chris Hunneysett from the Daily Mirror awarded the film five stars.
“I’m far from a hardcore Potter fan and yet I was spellbound throughout,” he said.
“JK Rowling’s extraordinary imagination bursts from the screen in a dazzling swirl of magical action and strong emotional moments powered by a wonderful cast working from her terrific script.”