After watching FB:TCoG I was mystified. Why did the critics pan this one? I understood 1SO's concern, about the plot being complex and it requires some work to keep up, as well as some background info. But was that enough to pan the film, to give it a less than 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes? So what did they have a problem with?
"No plot"-- what? Perhaps there is too much plot, and it is complex, but this isn't a "no plot" film.
"Could have been written by someone who only had a bare knowledge of the Potterverse"-- again, what? This fills in a number of the pieces between FB and HP proper, and only someone with an expert knowledge of the universe could fit these pieces in appropriately.
"Not enough beasts"-- I get that. Although in the title, the beasts don't play a major part of the story as they did in the first film. Perhaps that is a misled expectation. But I figured that it would be more about the characters.
I do wish the plot had more to do with the main four characters as presented in the first film and their development. We gain a bit of background knowledge and understand more of the dark side of Queenie's character, but not much more than that.
However, I think the film has much to recommend it. More plot than character, but it is a fascinating story, keeping my attention firmly. Newt's austistic characteristics are happily allowed to become clearer. I also love the inclusion of Dumbledore and Jude Law's performance. He is manipulative and underhanded, all for his own principles, at the expense of others who he sees as talented or well-placed, but without care if they get harmed. Perfectly in tune with the character as revealed in HP. And Law has got charm to spend.
The romances were subtle, but essential, saving the large romance to be developed in later films. We are introduced to the difficulties that will grow to crises in their relationships, allowing some to grow in our imaginations.
This film focuses on three characters introduced but not focused on in the last film: Credence, Grindelwald and especially Leta Lestrange. Credence is not given a lot of room to grow, but we learn more about what made him. Leta is granted a lot of space to develop and to not just be a walk on, "Oh, here's Newt's ex who happens to be his brother's fiancee, and imagine how uncomfortable that is." I think she is given a lot of heavy lifting and does well.
And then there is Mr. Depp. Look, I was one of those who inwardly groaned when he showed up at the end of the last film. The last thing we needed was another shallow, eccentric performance in a role that needs complexity. But his performance is strangely mature for a blockbuster-ish film. Most of the film is pointing toward his speech during the rally, and he pulls it off masterfully. He isn't Hitler, he isn't Voldermort-- he is more like an HG Wells racist. Rational and calm, manipulative but educationally seductive. it is not the performance I expected from Depp, and I was satisfied. Not a great performance, but taken seriously and he hit the tone perfectly.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the film. It gets a 4/5 for me, which is the same that I gave most HP movies.
What problems did others have with it?