I love the Harry Potter films and the Fantastic Beasts movies have been bad. Where to Find Them was nice, The Crimes of Grindelwald was bad and The Secrets of Dumbledore, maybe as bad as the second. I haven’t rewatched The Crimes of Grindelwald since 2018 so I cannot really compare them, but what I’m sure of was leaving the theater disappointed and not impressed after watching both films.
It’s a total disaster. The film just doesn’t work (structure and story). The plot is a messy fiasco that creates a condition for its messiness but ends up creating a convoluted plot full of conveniences and confusion. The retconning of story elements didn’t help at all. Did they even plan these films? If you thought the Star Wars sequel trilogy was messy, wait until you watch this. The first act flows relatively well, but the rest of the film feels like a second first act. The third act did have a very unique moment that should’ve been used to end the series but, they’re expecting to milk a fourth film. Speaking of unique moments, why did I get crazy goosebumps during scenes set in Hogwarts? Nostalgia is something, isn’t it? Now I did enjoy some scenes and there are very cool magical moments - wand duels and action set pieces in addition to dialogue scenes.
The performances were great and they carried the film. Jude Law was perfect as Dumbledore and the remaining cast members did a great job, with Don Fogler being a standout (again). Now Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald worked but the change in the appearance was not addressed which felt weird. He was better than Johnny Depp but his take on Grindelwald is different – what I mean is that I prefer Mikkelsen’s take on the character while Johnny Depp has a different take with its own “spice”. In the opening scene, Albus and Gellert have a conversation that I thought was going to set up an excellent film but all it did was be a great scene because what came afterward was just not good. Now the reason I’m addressing this scene is because of the performances and the chemistry between the two characters which was excellent. Also, the subtitles were not accurate and erased the romantic elements – which is a better alternative than cutting the dialogue like in other countries, but both modes of censorship are stupid.
The musical score was a treat and the visual effects work was good but the creature animation and compositing were janky sometimes. I am not sure if this was only during my screening, but there was this weird yellow haze that outlined the highlights in the image.
If you are a Potterhead, i think you will find it more enjoyable because Fantastic Beasts The Secrets of Dumbledore expands the Wizarding World and has fun with many new and old elements.
In conclusion, this film was a huge letdown that doesn’t know what it wants from its story or what it wants to be and the final result is a flimsy film with a questionable story running on obligation. I was not pleased at all. I should’ve watched Broken Keys instead.