If you or your kids love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, then you’ll probably find something to love about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Even so, early reviews suggest the newest installment in this huge and expansive magical series is the worst of the bunch. At least according to Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s why this might be a big deal, or it might not matter at all.
The Crimes of Grindelwald received less than a 60 percent rating, which means the movie is officially considered rotten by reviewers. The second Fantastic Beasts film is the tenth movie that takes place in Rowling’s magical world, and it’s the only one that’s gotten a rotten rating. Every Potter movie and the first Fantastic Beasts movie were certified fresh by critics.
That rating isn’t great, but it’s not going to sink the Fantastic Beasts franchise. It’s just like an annoying little Cornish Pixie buzzing around a giant’s head. The less-than-stellar reviews might bother Rowling on a spiritual level, but the franchise will keep barreling onward. Rotten Tomatoes aggregates film reviews and distills them down into a rating. Critics have complained in the past that this rating system is flawed because a Rotten Tomatoes staffer has to decide whether a review is either “fresh” or “rotten.” There’s no in between. The site has also only taken 35 Crimes of Grindelwald reviews into account so far. Hundreds of Rotten Tomatoes-certified critics are going to review this movie, so that score isn’t remotely final. The audience score also hasn’t even been tabulated yet, because the movie hasn’t opened yet. Fan groups have, in the past, tampered with Rotten Tomatoes and tried to sink a franchise movie’s audience rating out of spite, so the studio would wrongfully think that the majority of fans hated the movie. This happened in 2017 with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
It’s doubtful that this will happen with Fantastic Beasts 2. Fans might be divided over some aspects of the movie, like the casting of Johnny Depp and J.K. Rowling retroactively making changes to characters, but they aren’t going to lash out over it. Regardless of what the critics have to say, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is going to do very well at the box office. Fans might not notice the uneven pacing of the film, which has been a main criticism. They’re just excited to be in the Wizarding World again and are hungry for a new story from Rowling.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald comes out on November 16.