So, we have another Fantastic Beasts. This time, The Crimes of Grindelwald.
But its far from arresting (see what we did there? Crime? Geddit?)
While Potterheads will love the whole thing – from the introduction of Dumbledore and Hogwarts, to more magic and dazzling cinematography than you can poke a stick at – lets get one thing out of the way: its two hours of plot that can easily be boiled down into a butt-feeling friendly 90 minutes.
Bad man Grindelwald, played by Johnny Depp, sets the tone of his badassery early on as we see him eff up the wizarding world by breaking out of the US Ministry of Magic. Before long hes attempting to gather his followers, and with his Billy Idol bleached hair its apparently a nice day for a world winning.
Much like the first instalment, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, was likened to US President Trumps anti-immigration policies, is this blonde mopped-leader another dig Trump? Gathering followers, pitting two sides against one another?
Eh, were not here to get political – its a film based on childrens books for Newts sake.
Albus Dumbledore, Grindelwalds old BFF, is a ruddy delight, though. Jude Law has all the chance to stuff up one of our most beloved characters, but he just doesnt. Sure its hard to see him as anyone but Jude Law as we wonder whether the beard is real the whole time (AND WHY THE HECK MCGONAGALL IS NOT ONLY ALIVE IN 1927 BUT WORKS AT HOGWARTS) but he captures that warmness from the man in the OG films perfectly.
References to the books are also aplenty and elicited some chuckles from punters, as we catch the crew in their house colours and whisking away Boggarts like it was 2002.
Ezra Miller plays creepy and confused Creedence Barebone almost too good, yet again. Like, really good. No creep has been lost since the last film. Same as Depp – the lad sure knows how to do that charming sociopath thing. Add in a showering of white powder and a freaky contact lens and Gellert Grindelwald is as mesmerising as terrifying.
However, did we mention the thing is long? Sure there are twists and turns, that are great and wonderful and definitely set things up for another fantastic feast (there are five planned in this series, so wed hope there was somewhere to go…), but dont worry too much about missing the middle half.
In fact, you could really turn up for the first scene, then head to the bar and return for the final 15 minutes to learn all you need to know. Were kidding. Maybe.
JK Rowlings writing is utterly brilliant, as always, but the weird double-plot is a tad confusing at times. We were so distracted by the spells and enchanting characters (including the introduction of some of the books legends that made the audience lovingly awww) we didnt discover how confusing the plot(s) is at times until the finale.
And being no screenwriter, well leave it to the professionals – but we are mad movie punters and two hours 15 is just 45 minutes too long.
Youll need a large popcorn, perhaps a toilet break and definitely a profound love of all things Potter. But if youve got that, then youre in for a magical treat – we cant deny that.
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Oh, and, yes, Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) is just as breathy and retiring as always. To a fault. Even his younger self, in a Hogwarts flashback, is a shy little thing, perhaps an Eddie caricature more than anything, as he plays with a raven chick (a bird, that is, not a woman with black hair).
Side note: Zoe Kravitzs Leta Lestrange eye make up is amazing. Props to the costume department, that shade will sell out by tomorrow.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in cinemas 16 November.
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