JK Rowling’s creative imagination is as fertile as ever, and newcomers Law and Johnny Depp impress, but the second film in the series is bogged down by franchise detail
Fewer beasts; more crimes. This second adventure in JK Rowling’s movie series about unworldly young magi-zoologist Newt Scamander, engagingly played by Eddie Redmayne, takes the inevitable darker and more sombre turn. The storyline is initially clotted with sneaky narrative about-turns, reactivating characters from the last film, rescuing them from apparent destruction or memory loss; there are unresolved mysteries and a general sense of disquieting forces and intricate implications that may take many films to sort out.
Rowling’s Wizarding World epic includes specific references to the Hogwarts universe that we already know and love, younger versions of the old characters, and so in some ways has a more prequelised look, with hints of an origin myth. But as so often with fantasy adventure, the stormclouds are rolling in and the story is inexorably weighted towards a titanic battle of good and evil. It is just as spectacular as the wonderful opening film, with lovingly realised creatures, witty inventions and sprightly vignettes. But I 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. Having said which: the architectural detail of JK Rowling’s creativity is as awe-inspiring as ever.