Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third installment to the Harry Potter spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts. This movie is an absolute mess. Everything is all over the place from the film's many setbacks and cast changes to the story. I had higher hopes for this film and it was a bit of a flop. There is nothing about this film that really stood out to me or that I found shocking.
First and foremost, Johnny Depp should have been in this movie. If you didn’t already know, in the first two films Grindelwald was portrayed by Johnny Depp until the Amber Heard accusations came out and he was asked to leave the role by Warner Brothers. Siding with Amber Heard and keeping her on Aquaman instead. At the time they were a week into production and I think they should have just kept going. Looking back, Warner Brothers really dropped the ball on that one. I love Mads Mikkelson I just think no one can do as good of a job as and quickly step into the shoes of Johnny Depp. There was so much more depth to Depp’s version of Grindelwald where I actually found him scary as a character. In this one, Mikkelson does a good job as he is a terrific actor, but I couldn’t help but wish it was Johnny Depp. It just didn’t feel right.
On top of the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard situation, another star of the film Ezra Miller who plays Credence has recently gotten into some trouble with the law. So not the best press for the film just as it's hitting theatres. This has also put into question his future in the franchise and as Flash in the DC Extended Universe. Honestly, nobody I knew was really excited about this film, especially since it’s been so many years since the last one. It is hard to get back into a franchise if they don’t keep the fan base in it. Even die-hard Harry Potter fans are not really invested in this series. I don’t blame them either, this film does not feel like the original movies at all. I only keep watching because I want to see it through and I love the cast.
The flow of the film is all wrong and felt off. There was no depth to the story and it lacked any real structure. It was hard to take seriously and the whole plot was just anti-climactic. The characters, especially new ones, felt bland and not well developed. The only characters I really felt any connection to was Newt and Jacob. I wish that Tina was in the film more, but she was barely in it and they don’t explain why she is not a part of their journey. Regardless, she should have had a bigger role in this film seeing as she has been established as a main character in the first two films. She is also one of my favourite characters in the series so I was excited to see her character's role in the story. I liked their choice to make Albus gay it just feels a little thrown in there since he is already an established character. Although it's about time one of these major franchises has an openly gay character.
I did like the magical creatures in the film like the Qilin - the magical baby deer and the little ant-like creatures. The importance of the Qilin was not very clear and honestly very sad and dark. They could have been better introduced to establish what was at stake. The audience should have been afraid that they wouldn’t succeed in getting the Qilin back. Instead it just kind of happens and you forget about it. I didn't love much of this film but the creatures are always a fun part of these films. I still found there were some really funny parts like when Newt is trying to break his brother out. I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a theatre in a long time.
Overall, it is not the worst but I was not happy with the movie. It had the potential to be so much better if the care and effort were put into the film. This film has a very different feel from the first two in the franchise. I don’t love the direction they went in and the plot is all over the place. Even though this film was not great I still hope they continue the Fantastic Beasts series. They teased a continuation of the franchise however the film was not very well received by fans and they have yet to confirm the fourth installment. I honestly will watch anything and everything that is any type of continuation or spin-off of the original films. I still hope there are more films or some kind of continuation of the Harry Potter universe.