Well I kinda remember why I haven't seen this since opening day.
I wasn't super keen on it the first time around so has the passage of time lessened the impact of a less than favored sequel? Well I must admit there were more things I appreciated and very much liked on second viewing, and then there were things I was just like, well you could have left that out and just not did that. I've heard more than a fair share of bad mouthing over the years on this movie so I'll try to no let that lead me into tangents. I feel the story was mostly okay until 3/4 of the way through then it dropped significantly, and it's rather difficult to talk about it and not break it entirely down scene by scene. We don't have that much time or space to write that much. So I'll just say, I am okay with Newt still being a strong player in magical events despite his less than action hero status, and if the filmmakers are taking a more long way round version of the hero's journey where we fully see Newt become a capable and important wizard throughout the series then I have no problem with that. I like we get Jacob back quite a bit, he was a fun and happy character that brought the first film some levity so I don't mind he comes back even if he was drugged against his will by the person he loves. Just...we'll get back to that. Great seeing Zoe again, I got more out of Leta's story and the flashback sequences were some of my favorite parts of the movie all around, she's a rebellious and damaged witch that found some solace in a friend like Newt and honestly how many Slytherin's can you name who you like as people? Jude Law is still awesome, I'm so happy we're getting more emphasis on him in the next movie, I see more of how he plays Dumbledore as a figure who wants to help but has to stay out of the action, almost a older Obi-Wan type character that we'll get in that upcoming series, he just plays it perfectly. Now on the opposite side of the acting spectrum, a lot of the side character fat could have been trimmed. It's not necessary to see the backstory of a snake turned horcrux, Credence trying to discover his family is by no means a bad story but it wasn't given enough time to feel important or impactful. I feel Ezra Miller was almost floundering for any semblance of substance to cling onto in this for his role, so I can't hold this against him. Johnny Depp isn't a bad villain in my eyes, again more underutilized and not given much to work with, no harm or foul on the actor. Alison Sudol as Queenie however, they did you dirty my love! You took a queen, a marvel to behold, one of the most lovable and charming characters in this series, and you assassinated her before my very eyes. She kidnaps Jacob, force feeds a love potion to him even though he loved her already, is off her rocker for no good godforsaken reason, and then just joins the evil wizard for oh! You guessed it! No reason. Look at how they've massacred my girl. There is no justifying sloppy terrible character writing. The plot just kinda meanders about, with no solid connective tissue to link so many character's stories, and once that last fourth of the movie kicks in is when it becomes a stupid soap opera. Revelations and personal history dropped forty levels on your head without prelude or intrigue, contrivance after contrivance, and a villain speech that strains the human mind's capacity for logic. I mean if Rowling did a good and admirable job writing the first movie and not making it an overcomplicated or stupid story, but then failed miserably here I'm just wondering what occured. And I think I can narrow it down to, she writes books. Not screenplays. If she wrote a 400+ page book and titled it The Crimes Of Grindlewald and could flesh everything out to her heart's content, I think we wouldn't have a problem. But she needs to write a script for a movie roughly two and a half hours long, so the disadvantages of her writing become more noticeable. Now if she relegates the actual script to a screenwriter and she just throws out ideas and works with them, we should be in safe hands here for however many we have left. It's a mixed bag of a movie and people can either like it or despise it, but me personally I find it complicated but average at best. 2 stars, 5.5/10, and I ask the ancient mystics and magi for a small bit of magic for the next movie. Until then.