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Movie Review

Release Date: 04/15/22
Genre: Adventure/Family/Fantasy

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures


"Albus Dumbledore assigns Newt and his allies with a mission related to the rising power of Grindelwald."


While miles ahead of where we left off with Crimes of Grindelwald, Secrets of Dumbledore is yet another spark that failed to fully ignite the flames that the Harry Potter series left behind so peacefully all those years ago.


The magic hasn’t returned… at least not fully. Decidedly dropping almost the entirety of the fantastic beasts from a film titled “Fantastic Beasts,” Secrets of Dumbledore is a political thriller set in the wizarding world. While enticing, it's certainly not what I signed up for. 


The original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was one of my absolute favorite films of 2016, so much so in fact, that I saw it six times in the cinema (not even kidding). When the much anticipated sequel Crimes of Grindelwald came to the big screen, I was there on opening night…  and only opening night. I had yet to relive the sour experience until in preparation for this third entry. So, that gives you a little sneak preview at my overall mindset of the series thus far. This new installment is a ripe example of how to slowly but surely correct the catastrophic mistakes made in the sequel; even so, four years out from that original sequel, it may be a little too late for most fans. 


However, let’s not spoil all the fun of having a new adventure set in the Wizarding World. Jude Law is a perfect embodiment of Albus Dumbledore (reprising his role from the sequel), and Mads Mikkelsen delivers a more worthy performance as the villainous Grindelwald than anything Johnny Depp gave previously with his cartoon-esque villainy. I found the bits and pieces of the fantastic beasts in this film comical, fun, and even scary at points, but still a majority of the feature hinders on the politics of Grindelwald vs Dumbledore, and while it’s significantly more interesting this go ‘round, it sacrifices far too many fantastic beast moments.


Apart from Mikkelsen and Law, the cast is all here in mainly significantly smaller roles; even our lead from the first film is shrunk down to just a supporting character. This series doesn’t seem to be Newt’s anymore, and instead Dumbledore’s story with Newt and friends occupying the space around him. Don’t get me wrong, Dumbledore is one of the best characters ever put to paper or screen, but the Fantastic Beasts series is clearly clasping at thin air to find something to pull in some reasonable box office figures.


The length of the film is certainly not helping matters with a two hour and twenty-two minute runtime. The film feels stretched at moments just to fit all the characters into the film, even sacrificing some to cameo appearances (Tina). While time soared by as I dove into the politics of the Wizarding World, I couldn’t help but simultaneously remind myself of just how similar these prequels are to the infamous Star Wars prequels - long, unnecessary, and full of politics.  


This third entry is a step in the right direction, but with an uncertain future for the franchise, this would be an unremarkable conclusion for Newt Scamander and friends.

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