In some ways, casting Johnny Depp as the Fantastic Beasts franchise’s skeezy gross evil villain Grindelwald is utterly perfect – after all, he’s certainly good at making people uncomfortable.
Based on the title of the second Fantastic Beasts movie, it does seem worryingly like we’ll have to tolerate a lot more of Depp in the near future.
All kinds of warning bells go off the moment this name swims into view in the official reveal Tweet – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald sounds like the worst idea for a movie ever.
— Fantastic Beasts (@FantasticBeasts) November 16, 2017
If Voldemort is the Harry Potter version of Hitler, then Grindelwald is the slightly more hairy wizard Hitler. He’s the guy that Voldemort looks up to and any movie that spends its runtime revealing his many crimes doesn’t sound like it’ll be any fun.
There’s a reason why Springtime for Hitler seems like such a dumb idea in The Producers.
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of this new logo reveal is how small the “Fantastic Beasts” text is compared with the word “The Crimes of Grindelwald”. Notice that this was never the case with any of the Harry Potter movie logos, because the films were ultimately all about Harry.
There’s been a lot of speculation about the role that Newt Scamander and friends will play in this new film, and the logo does make it clear that they’ll be taking a back seat to the bigger conflict of the ongoing story: the battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
Getting to see Jude Law as baby Dumbledore does sound like fun, but not at the expense of the actual fantastic beasts that made the new series sound so appealing from the start.
We’ve seen the ultimate battle of good versus evil play out over eight existing Harry Potter movies. It is, at this point, incredibly dull.
Newt Scamander, earnest Hufflepuff animal enthusiast, is interesting. If the first movie had featured more beasts and fewer dark wizards, it would have been a far more enjoyable film.
As a protagonist Newt is a breath of fresh air – notice (spoiler alert, by the way) that at the end of the first movie, Newt actively tries to de-escalate the big fight, trying to talk to We Need to Talk About The Flash Credence, rather than simply defeating him in magical combat.
This will likely all be swept aside when Dumbledore, a true-blooded Gryffindor, takes center stage. It’s hard to imagine these future movies will have much of a place for Newt’s sensitivity when there’s true evil magic to defeat.
On that note, there is one other problem with Depp’s Grindelwald as the big central villain of future Fantastic Beast movies – he’s not all that threatening.
At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Grindelwald gets defeated by Newt Scamander, a terrible student who never even finished his education at Hogwarts, thanks to Newt’s affinity with one of his Pokémon.
If Grindelwald can be easily beaten by Newt and a bird, how can he possibly pose a real threat in future films?
That’d be like if Voldemort got beaten by a Home Alone trap in the first Harry Potter film – it’d be incredibly hard to take him seriously for the rest of the movies.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald sounds like a really bad step for the franchise as a whole. Here’s hoping that whatever JK Rowling in planning for this movie, it’ll end up being a bit better than it sounds on paper.