If you are a fan of the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” film series you are no doubt thrilled about the new release “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” The new film is the follow up to the 2016 release “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, and continues the story of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), an employee of the British Ministry of Magic in the Beasts Division. You see, Newt helps control and regulate magical creatures as we discovered in the first film. The film is set in 1927, and begins in New York City where the Magical Congress of the United States is in the process of transferring the extremely powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) to London where he will be tried for his crimes in Europe. While in transit, the dark wizard escapes thanks to help from an ally. The film then moves three months forward with Newt appealing to the British Ministry of Magic to restore his right to international travel, after he lost the right when in New York City. Newt is finally granted the right to international travel if he will work of the Ministry along side his brother Theseus (Callum Turner), of whom he has a warm but tumultuous relationship, as they can’t quite understand each other. The two are assigned the duty of locating Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), who was responsible for widespread in New York after releasing his Obscurus parasite. Before traveling to Paris to find Credence, Newt and his brother meet up with Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) at Hogwarts (!) who gives the brothers said assignment. While in Paris, Newt, Theseus, and several other characters (there are so many in this movie!) manage to attend a rally being held by Grindelwald, who espouses the idea of “freedom” in order to no longer hide from Muggles (ordinary humans). Newt and his group have secretly surrounded the meeting, but are uncovered by Grindelwald, who turns his followers against Newt and company, resulting in a brief battle between the two groups. Eventually, Credence, who has been discovered in Paris, joins Grindelwald, and a shocking revelation is revealed at the films conclusion. After the battle at the meeting, which is so intense, the entire city of Paris is at risk, Newt and company head back to Hogwarts where he presents a vial to Dumbledore which he took from Grindelwald, which he realizes is the reason Dumbledore could not face Griendelwald himself. During the course of the film we see a younger Newt at Hogwarts, and learn about the origin of one very familiar character from the “Harry Potter” films. The film ends with the perfect set-up for the third installment, which no doubt will be thrilling. I found the film to be extremely entertaining, and Redmayne is once again in top form as the shy, but effective Newt. The supporting cast is on spot, with Law stepping into some big shoes as the younger version of the much beloved Dumbledore character. Meahwhile, Depp is totally creepy as Griendelwald, and with his haircut and one light colored eye, make me think of a cross between singers David Bowie and Billy Idol. The film is filled with amazing CGI creatures and marvelous special effects. If the film isn’t nominated for a Best Special Effects Oscar, I will be very surprised. While the character of Newt may never quite reach the popularity of Harry Potter, he certainly is giving the character a run for his wand. I consider “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” to be “The Empire Strikes Back” of this film series, with its dark tone and intensity. For a magical movie experience, be sure to head to theaters for this fine sequel.