I’m sure after The Secrets of Dumbledore there will be fans who are burned out of this story. And I don’t blame them!
Remember how Crimes of Grindelwald ended? Leta Lestrange had been killed, Queenie Goldstein had turned to the dark side; Grindelwald had just told Credence his secret identity – that being a long-lost Dumbledore – and Albus Dumbledore had to figure out how to destroy the blood pact he and Grindelwald made when they were young lovers. Well, The Secrets of Dumbledore is long and yet it still feels like this story is going nowhere.
The first film was a story about a peculiar wizard, his briefcase, and his lovable beasts. Along with that came the shady dealings of Lord Percival a.k.a Grindelwald as he cultivated Credence’s power as an Obscurial to change the political landscape. It wasn’t as great as a Harry Potter movie but it was distinct in its enjoyability. The second movie was a confusing whirlwind of storylines that coalesced into a darker turn for the franchise. In a failed attempt to be the Empire Strikes Back of the Fantastic Beasts movies the story was pushed forward. But not in an entirely satisfying way. There are some things to enjoy about the second installment but overall, it’s a mess.
The newest installment is better than the second movie for the simple fact that it’s comprehensible but that’s all that’s going for it. Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald, a suave take on the antagonist, is moving ever closer to starting the wizard-muggle war he wants to start. This is one of the main events I’m looking forward to but we never quite get there in this movie. It’s barely brought up. Whereas in Crimes of Grindelwald we understand the stakes when we see Grindelwald have a muggle family, their baby and all, killed. This movie plays like a boring political thriller with a Wizarding World twist while incorporating several storylines which play out in underwhelming side missions. The secrets of Dumbledore are aplenty and will provide answers to questions Harry Potter fans will surely be satisfied with.
Newcomer Jessica Williams’ Eulalie “Lally” Hicks is a welcome addition to the franchise. She’s one of the few highlights of the film as she brought such a bold likability to a female character in this story that I feel has been missing. As a black woman who has always loved Harry Potter seeing a powerful Black witch in this world was beyond satisfying and gratifying. The action scenes, when we did have them, were fun. The specific highlight is the confrontation between Albus and Credence Dumbledore which lives up to the hype. I just wish their duel could’ve been a bit longer.
Oh, the love story. I may be in the minority here but I don’t think the chemistry between Jude Law’s Dumbledore and Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald was that believable. I kept trying to picture them as a deeply-in-love couple when they were younger and I just couldn’t see it. Because of that, that side of the story didn’t mold right for me. At every moment that I was supposed to either feel emotion or the tension between them I just wasn’t as invested as I’d hoped I’d be. But I do like the if-Professor X-and-Magneto-were-lovers dynamic in their stance in this war. Grindelwald wants muggles to die, Dumbledore is determined to protect them. I am also glad the movies aren’t shying away from his romance with Grindelwald since it is such a large part of his story.
THE LONG HAUL!
One good thing about these Fantastic Beasts movies is the chance that we get to see Albus’s secrets being peeled away. Which provides a deeper portrait of him in the Harry Potter movies. The final moments of the film are a rather intimate, profound look at a man who has dealt with so much personal loss. And I feel like that’s the best thing this movie had to offer. However, the film is just far too long. It drags on and on with no sight of ending and when the climax arrives it is so underwhelming that I was staring at the screen like, “Really?” The length of a film does not always attribute to a movie’s enjoyability and that is the truth about this movie. So many things could’ve been sped up. But it felt like the film was just pirouetting with no apparent pause.
If we get another Fantastic Beasts movie, which I think we should so we can get to the good stuff, it’s got to have more action. A.k.a an all-out wizard war. I think that’s going to be the only thing to ensure its chances of being a more likable film because I’m sure after The Secrets of Dumbledore there will be fans who are burned out of this story. And I don’t blame them.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore is distributed by Warner Bros. and is playing in theatres everywhere NOW!
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Hello everyone. My name is Annlyel James. I’m a young woman who loves movies of all genres (specifically ‘Star Wars’ and Marvel movies.) I am also a Senior Correspondent for The Future of the Force.