I didn’t like Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald. I love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as much as the next person, and I relatively enjoyed the first Fantastic Beasts movie. But the new sequel is baloney. It’s a hodgepodge of conflicting and confusing subplots, all attempting to pad out a movie that’s really only concerned with setting up the rest of the franchise.
But there’s one thing that really, really bugged me about the new film: the casual use of the killing curse.
I’m not going to spoil anything in the movie, at least nothing important. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the acolytes of the criminal Grindewald, among others, use the killing curse. It’s just how they use it that really annoys me, and how I feel it contradicts established Harry Potter canon.
Honestly, a lot of things in The Crimes of Grindelwald contradict Harry Potter canon. And as someone who enjoys the pedantry of Harry Potter canon, the detail that JK Rowling put into the Wizarding World, a lot of this really bugged me.
But what really sticks in my craw about the new movie is how casually the wizards flick their wands and administer Avada Kedavra, the killing curse.
In the books and the original films, we’re taught that Avada Kedavra is one of the three Unforgivable Curses. It’s a big freaking deal. We’re also taught that casting spells without shouting the incantation is a powerful magic that takes years of study. And I feel that it was heavily implied that you couldn’t just cast off Avada Kedavra without using the incantation.
You’ve got to really mean it when you cast Avada Kedavra. You’ve got to put your whole damn soul behind it. Even powerful wizards like Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape and Vodlemort himself have to speak or shout the incantation out loud to cast it.
But in the film, wizards can casually stroll into a room, flick their wrists and people die.
The most egregious example, the one that really grinds my gears, involved an Auror, ostensibly one of the good guys. This Auror is standing there, wand down, when he’s startled by someone at his side. He quickly turns half around, barely raises his wand, says nothing, and a little plume of green magic comes out and the person at his side is dead. It goes that quickly and that simply.
Are Aurors just flinging around the killing curse all willy nilly? Does it really not take that much effort?
Granted, the film takes place in 1927, and the Harry Potter movies don’t happen until the 1990s. Maybe stuff like this is why the Unforgivable Curses were so established in the first place. But it always felt like those were old magical rules.
Perhaps all this casual killing, by good guys and bad guys alike, led to some new magical rules. Still bugs me though.