Review of “Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore” (Pop at Palmetto)

Jasmine Judge, Design Editor

Warning: The following story contains spoilers.

On Apr. 15, Warner Bros. Pictures released the third film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, “Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore.” This part of the franchise — initially begun in 2016 with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” — falls under the umbrella of J.K Rowling’s Wizarding World and serves as the spinoff prequels to the Harry Potter films.

This third film takes place in the 1920s and follows magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he continues to adventure across the world with an enchanted briefcase full of magical creatures. The antagonist, Gellert Grindelwald (originally played by Johnny Depp but now by Mads Mikkelson), returns with the intention to not only take over the magical world but the Muggle world as well.

Almost 15 years ago, Rowling revealed to fans that Hogwarts Headmaster and world renowned wizard Albus Dumbledore was gay. This film was the first of the three to allow this part of Dumbledore’s backstory plays out with former love interest turned enemy Grindelwald, leaving fans with extremely high expectations.

Based on the film’s title, many fans were led to believe that this movie would center around young Dumbledore’s (Jude Law) dark past and life before he became Hogwarts headmaster, ultimately providing context for the original Harry Potter movies since  Dumbledore was also a key character in that franchise. However, this was simply not the case. 

For much of the film, Dumbledore was forced to take a backseat, as the blood oath he took with his former romantic interest, Grindelwald, restricted him from pointing his wand at the enemy. As a result, this film’s pacing was much slower than that of the two prior.

After finishing the film, I felt weighed down by the two hours and twenty-three minutes I had spent watching it. Despite the length, I was left feeling as though not much had been accomplished, plot-wise. Personally, though this film evoked nostalgia by bringing the main characters back to Hogwarts, I prefer the first and second films over the newest one, making my rating of it a three out of five.