Typical of a Muggle, I presumed that J.K. Rowling—the Harry Potter creator and overlord of his larger “Wizarding World”—had completed the heavy lifting on her world-building with the original screenplay she concocted for 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first of five installments she plans on writing for Warner Brothers, a movie studio that’s clearly enamored with Disney’s Marvel
Cinematic Universe. Boy, was I wrong! Her second, even worse screenplay in the Potter prequel series—Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald—manages to suck most of the life out of the few appealing characters, Alison Sudol’s Queenie Goldstein and Dan Fogler’s Jacob Kowalski, she concocted for the previous film. Rowling’s new exposition dumps make her formula even less magical, proving she might be the biggest Muggle of them all. The world-building not only continues in the film, but it is the film, which is once again directed by David Yates, whose magic touch has also seemingly obliviated after making six of these movies in the past 11 years. On the secret orders of Albus Dumbledore (a dapper Jude Law), returning charisma vacuum Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) follows the trail of Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), who escapes Depression-era New York for gay Paris, where Rowling’s proto-Voldemort delivers a climactic polemic that doubles as her latest rebuke of Trumpism. Yes, really. Watch it at Assembly Row, Boston Common, Fenway, Seaport, South Bay and in the suburbs.