The third installment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise crumbles under its own incoherent weight.
I was pretty much done with the Wizarding World for better or worse after the Harry Potter franchise closed its story. I had heard of these Fantastic Beasts films but I had little to no interest in wanting to watch these films. It is no secret that I am not the biggest fan of the Wizarding World. I think the franchise is one of the most overrated properties that were adapted by some fine pieces of young adult fiction novels. I have viewed these subsequent films as cash grabs trying to milk nostalgia out of a community that has turned its back on a hateful author. Alas, I still wanted to give this film a try, so I caught up on the last two entries and went to the cinema to watch The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is directed by David Yates (who has been directing these Wizarding World films since Order of the Phoenix). The film is written by J.K. Rowling and this time enlisting Steve Kloves to help co-write the screenplay. The cast includes Jude Law, Mads Mikkelsen (replacing Johnny Depp from the last two installments), Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner, Dan Fogler, Jessica Williams, and William Nadylam. James Newton Howard returns to provide the original score composition from the last two Fantastic Beasts films. The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third installment in a five-planned film franchise.
This time around after the events of The Crimes of Grindelwald, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) is trying to stop Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelson) so he brings together his team led by New Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Also, in case you forgot from the last film Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) joined Grindelwald who is manipulating him to use his powers against Dumbledore. The team of wizards and Jacob the muggle try their hardest to keep a powerful Grindelwald from stealing an election to become the Minister of Magic. All of this is happening while Albus Dumbeldore fights against the past romantic partnership he had with Grindelwald. Will our wizard and one muggle heroes save the day or will an ultra extremist wizard rise to power and lead a full-fledged civil war against non-wizards?
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a slight improvement from its predecessors in the franchise but is an incoherent screenplay that tries its hardest to stick together. The film drags its weight along the way leaving behind any room for an interesting screenplay. An uninteresting plot relying on the nostalgia of the Harry Potter franchise tries its best to mesh a competent film out of the mess of David Yates’ direction. Mads Mikkelson even though a great addition does well with what he is given. Yet the performance does not feel up to the bar left by Johnny Depp, but it leaves room for a lot of improvement if the next two films are made. Mikkelson and Dumbledore have better chemistry but it is still not enough to save the film. A washed-out uninteresting visual language paired with an amazing score by James Newton Howard at least provides something to enjoy from an almost 2 hours and 30-minute film. Even though Steve Kloves brings a helpful hand, The Secrets of Dumbeldore’s screenplay cannot help fall apart its incoherent backbone. Maybe they get it right in the next one, but the magic is not present anymore in these Wizarding World films.
Watch The Secrets of Dumbledore in theaters and soon on HBO Max after a 45-day theatrical window.