If 2016's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" was laid-back and affable, a dip of the toe into a planned five-part prequel set within author J.K. Rowling's world of witchcraft and wizardry, second installment "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" ups the stakes and further expands its globe-trotting mythos. With multiple visits to Hogwarts, flashbacks to introverted yet faithful wizard Newt Scamander's (Eddie Redmayne) formative days at the school, and the crucial incorporation of future headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) into the plot, the film—more so than its predecessor—is a sentimental return to the spirit of the eight-picture "Harry Potter" series. It also, for that matter, feels like exactly what it is: an enticing but sometimes cumbersome narrative bridge that will hopefully make better sense and prove more satisfying once the scope of its overall story arc is revealed.
When dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes captivity from the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), the London-based Newt is contacted by Professor Dumbledore with a pressing task: travel to Paris and attempt to thwart Grindelwald's plans of overtaking the No-Maj population with pure-blood witches and wizards. As Grindelwald sets about building his army of followers, Newt reunites with MACUSA officer/auror Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), her psychic sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Queenie's forbidden No-Maj boyfriend Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). With the foursome split apart and allegiances threatened, Newt and Tina vow to track down dangerously powerful obscurus Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), a young man desperately searching for his real parents. If Grindelwald gets to Credence first, their combined forces could prove catastrophic for the world at large.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review