Warner Bros. Entertainment

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

09:00 April 20, 2022
By: Fritz Esker

The final entry in the Fantastic Beasts trilogy, a set of Harry Potter prequels, yields mixed results with Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Gellert Grindelwald (formerly Johnny Depp, now Mads Mikkelsen) is trying to take over the wizarding world with an agenda to wipe out muggles (non-magical people) entirely. So it's left to Dumbledore (Jude Law), Grindelwald's former lover, to try to stop him with a motley collection of wizards and muggle baker Jacob (Dan Fogler).

The main problem with this final installment (directed by David Yates, co-written by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves) is it's never clear whose story it's telling. A film like Avengers: Endgame was stuffed to the brim with characters, but it was primarily the story of Iron Man and Captain America. Even if a film is a story that is part of a larger universe, the individual films need to have a central arc. But The Secrets of Dumbledore never finds a focus. Magical creature specialist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) was the lead in the first film, but there's no real arc for him here. Dumbledore comes and goes from the film. Another problem is that the most appealing part of the first two movies was the relationship between Jacob and sweet-but-spacey witch Queenie (Alison Sudol). Those two are separated for almost the entire film here.

That said, it's not a dull film or a bad one. There are flashes of imagination and creativity, such as a book-centered escape from a dangerous situation and a climactic con game involving a set of suitcases. But it never delivers the emotional kick the original Harry Potter franchise had.

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