The Fantastic Beasts series has been an interesting journey. The first movie came out in 2016 and it managed to reinvigorate Harry Potter fans’ excitement for the Wizarding World with a somewhat spellbinding new cast of characters and an intriguing new story.
The second film took a sharp turn, taking us on a whirlwind adventure that was both confusing, and slightly fascinating, and revealed that this story was not about Newt Scamander and his beasts but was actually focused on Dumbledore. Depp gave life to Grindelwald in a way that was sometimes comically dramatic and yet I loved it. Now we’ve got the new movie and I’ve got a lot of thoughts…and most of them aren’t good.
The Secrets of Dumbledore could’ve possibly been really entertaining but it feels like this story is moving in slow-motion. Each movie is getting closer and closer to the big showdown between Dumbledore and his former lover Grindelwald but it’s just not getting to the nitty-gritty. The wizard-muggle war that sounds interesting as heck is still inactive even though it seemed that’s what was going to happen next after Crimes of Grindelwald.
Instead, this movie took a political route like The Phantom Menace with the lack of enjoyment of a fantastic third act, a cool pod race sequence, and well, Jedi.
I like the characters well enough but am I invested? I should be after three movies but I’m not…unfortunately.
Newt Scamander is a great character but he’s been swallowed up in a conflict that he doesn’t fully fit in. His brother, Theseus, fits better but considering that he’s so linked with Newt I wished they had focused on their relationship a bit more.
Tina is practically non-existent. Why she was written out of the story I don’t know. Yusuf Kama is just…there. Bunty still has a major crush on Newt that’s not reciprocated but her larger role made her more likable.
Jacob doesn’t have to be in the movie but I was glad he was there. He brought some genuine joy to the film in a way that didn’t feel forced.
Eulalie Hicks was fantastic. She’s an instant favorite of mine. Queenie Goldstein feels subdued in this film. Credence Dumbledore’s role is diminished and besides a really cool action scene, he was boring as heck. Alberforth Dumbledore is in this movie to add extra depth to the title. You’ll get it if you watch it.
Albus Dumbledore isn’t in the movie as much as I would’ve liked but he does get his moments to shine.
And Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald is just…not that exciting. His presence is so muted. I was desperately asking for more as I was watching the film but it seemed like he had one expression for most of the movie. He was menacing at the beginning but for the rest of the movie, I was just wishing for more villainy.
When there was action it was fun. There’s one particular action scene at the very beginning that’s brief but had me utterly riveted, specifically in IMAX.
James Newton Howard concocts a magical score and honestly, the music was my favorite part of the film.
I wish I came away from this movie utterly thrilled but I was not overjoyed. The movie is the longest Fantastic Beasts installment and you feel every agonizingly long second as the story drags on and on and on. By the end, I was wondering if it was ever going to stop.
I was also very underwhelmed by the climax. When it arrived I was waiting for the showdown and well…it was just a lot.
It was better than Crimes of Grindelwald because at least I could comprehend what was happening and Eulalie was a great addition to this roster but unfortunately, it wasn’t much better than the second film.
I’m giving this movie 85 out of 100 and 3 out of 5 stars.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a tremendous day.
2 thoughts on “‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ Was Long and Not that Fantastic”
Interesting. I gave up after the first one and this review pretty much describes what I was hoping I’d be missing out on. Former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter used to say every single issue of a comic book should tell a complete story. Although plot lines may continue from one issue to the next, you should feel there was something that was introduced and resolved in that issue to make it feel satisfying. He also said you should not think of good ideas and then hold them back to use later. You should use what you got ASAP, and just trust yourself to think of something just as good again later when you need it. Now that we’re in this age of never ending serialized movie series that are made up as they go along, the writers don’t seem to be following the basic lessons that comic book writers have known for decades.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Exactly. They’re taking so long to get to the meat of the story that they’re losing us in the process. To think we only have two movies left (if at all) and we’ve only gotten to the point we’ve gotten is disappointing as heck.
LikeLiked by 2 people