Long time readers will recall that, last april, I wrote an article about the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the prequel to the Harry Potter movie series. In that, I wrote about how the ending was handled completely wrong, and outlined several reasons why, as well as giving a suggestion for how it could have been handled differently.
And seeing as I wrote about Harry Potter last time, I figured I’d stick with the theme and revisit this movie.
The reason, as you can probably tell by the title and the fact that it includes the word “Addendum“, is that when I wrote that article, I made a mistake. And while I don’t enjoy having to rectify mistakes I’ve made, it’s a bit extra embarrassing this time since, in my own opinion, my article about Fantastic Beasts was one I was very proud of.
So, since it’s my goal to be as truthful as I possibly in my writing, I’ve decided to explain what I got wrong, and try to rectify it.
You see, I went on a great rant about how, in the movie, Newt Scamander has the Swooping Evil swing out and turn into a constrictive web-work around Grindelwalds arms, and I got very annoyed at how this ability came out of nowhere, and was never highlighted previously as something the Swooping Evil could do, and was just introduced for the sake of plot convenience.
The thing is… I thought I looked closely at the scene, but as it turns out, I got it wrong. Looking at the scene again, it’s not the swooping evil that ties up Grindelwald. What actually happened was, Scamander let out the swooping evil which, true to it’s name, swooped over Grindelwalds head, distracting him. Scamander then restrains him, and while it’s not easy to tell definitively, it would seem, looking at the scene in detail, that Scamander uses his wand to constrain him.
I can only apologize for the mistake, but I know for a fact I wasn’t the only one who thought that it was the swooping evil. I think the reason for the confusion was because the swooping evil is shown to have an elastic tail which Scamander has been shown to hold onto, not unlike the vine-like spell he uses uses, as well as the fact it had been brought into the scene moments before, whereas that vine spell had never been seen before. In addition the swooping evil vanishes as soon as the vine spell appears.
But those are just excuses. In the end, I made a mistake, honest though it was, and I apologize.
This doesn’t take away from all the other reasons the scene doesn’t really work. Scamander still had no reason to suspect Graves was wearing a disguise. They still have no reason NOT to execute him and, most important of all, Grindelwald had absolutely no reason to maintain the disguise after the Obscurial was gone, or to keep using Graves’ wand instead of his own.
But that brings me neatly to another reason the scene is stupid, a reason I didn’t realize until just recently.
You see, last time I made a big deal about how, during this time, we KNOW that Grindelwald was the master of the Elder Wand, and that using Graves’ wand wasn’t a good idea when he could be using the most powerful wand in existence.
And in this ending, we have him being restrained, captured and (crucially) DISARMED by Newt and Porpentina.
I’ll repeat that, in case you missed it.
Newt and Porpentina defeated and disarmed Gellert Grindelwald, the MASTER OF THE ELDER WAND!
In other words, one of them is its new master, most likely Porpentina, since she was the one who took Grindelwalds wand away!
Remember, the Elder Wand is far more fickle than any other wand, and it goes to where the power lies. Grindelwald was defeated, therefore he was too weak to deserve the wands power. Even if he didn’t actually wield it at the time, the Elder Wand doesn’t need to be wielded to shift allegiance. After all, Draco Malfoy never even touched the Elder Wand, yet its allegiance shifted when Harry took his wand.
This is another reason why they should have had Grindelwald escape! Because with this ending, they’ve taken away his mastery of the Elder Wand! This ending creates a damn time paradox!
Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the whole deal with Grindelwald that he was nigh-unstoppable? That only Dumbledore had the skill to defeat him? That even WITH the elder wand, Dumbledore was just that little bit more skilled?
Again, the duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald went down in wizard legend in how astounding it was! It highlighted how great a wizard Dumbledore was, that even with the Elder Wand, Grindelwald lost to him.
But now? Grindelwald was defeated by a zoologist with a magic bat and lost the allegiance of his greatest weapon to a disgraced auror. Again, it really doesn’t paint Grindelwald in a very good light, I feel.
Now, it’s true that, maybe, this will turn out to be a plot point in later movies. That is a distinct possibility. But since the scene is stupid for so many other reasons, I doubt it was really worth it. Sabotaging one of the most dangerous black magic users in the canon, just to add some plot stuff for later movies seems like a bad move to me.
Even worse, if they DON’T make it a plot point, then they have created a massive time paradox, with the elder wand not behaving in a way that was CRUCIAL for the original book series, instead remaining with Grindelwald.
And in that case, the only, possible saving grace, bad as it may be, would vanish from the ending of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The end result of both the canonical ending and my suggested alternative would be the same: Grindelwald still on the loose, causing havoc. But at least in my version, he still has his full power, is still a threatening villain (because not even all of MACUSA could do better than fight him to a standstill) and we wouldn’t get a nonsensical scooby-doo ending and him not facing execution for no adequately explained reason.
And if I’m brutally honest? Missing a blink-and-you-miss-it detail in the ending doesn’t seem quite as bad in comparison.
So while I admit that I was wrong about one detail, the overall issue remains. Not only is the scene stupid, but it’s stupid in ways I didn’t even notice the first time around.