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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a 2022 fantasy film directed by David Yates from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves. It is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), the third installment in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and the eleventh overall in the Wizarding World franchise. It stars Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, Katherine Waterston and Mads Mikkelsen. Set several years after the events of its predecessor, the film follows Albus Dumbledore giving Newt Scamander and allies a mission that transports them to Dark Wizard Gillert Grindelwald’s army. 

In Bhutan 1932, Newt Scamander helps a Qilin – a magical creature that can see into one’s soul and future – give birth. Gellert Grindelwald’s acolytes , led by Credence Barebone, attack and kill the mother, and kidnap the newborn. Grindelwald subsequently kills the creature to control its ability of precognition. However, unknown to them, the Qilin has given birth to twins, the younger of which Newt is able to save. 

Unable to fight against Grindelwald, due to a blood pact, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his brother Theseus, Ilvermony Charms professor Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, Senegalese-French wizard Yusuf Kama and American No-Maj Jacob Kowalkski to defeat Grindelwald’s plan for world domination. Yusuf is marked as a spy in Grindelwald’s inner circle while the rest of the grouo is sent to Berlin, Germany. There, they witness Grindelwald being acquitted of crimes by the International Confederation of Wizards (ICW) and running for the office of Supreme Mugwump. The ICW believes arresting Grindelwald could get him more support, but beating him in an authorized election will lose him support. 

Grindelwald’s acolytes; who have gone against the German Ministry of Magic, arrest Theseus and plan to assassinate one of Grindelwald’s enemies, the Brazilian candidate, Vicencia Santos. Dumbledore gives Newt and Lally their next assignments; to save Theseus and and ruin the assassination. While Newt rescues his brother from the secret German wizard jail,  Lally and Jacob foil the assassination attempt ; however Jacob is eventually framed and for attempting to kill Grindelwald, and he and Lally barely escape, giving Grindelwa;d an incentive to turn the wizarding world against the Muggle world. Meanwhile, Grindelwald has sent Credence to kill Dumbledore. Dumbledore quickly defeats Credence and he is revealed to be the illegitimate son of Dumbledore’s younger brother, Aberforth Dumbledore. Learning who his father is and being forgiven by Albus, Credence start to question his loyalty to Grindelwald. 

The leader of the wizarding world gather in Bhutan, where the new Supreme Mugwump is to be elected by the ancient tradition of being found worthy by a Qilin. who bows to those pure of heart. 

Out of the three Fantastic Beasts films so far, this one is better than the second one, but not as good as the first one. It has the magic of the wizarding world Potter fans love, but we learn only a little bit about Dumbledore’s secrets and more time is spent on trying to defeat Grindelwald and save the Qilins. We do learn of Albus’s brother Aberforth, Credence being Aberforth’s son, and Albus’s sexuality, which has been speculated since the early stories in the Harry Potter series, but once all that’s revealed, it’s right back to the Grindelwald Show. 

Changing Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald from Johnny Depp’s portrayal, was actually a good thing, not just for the deep water he is in right now, but also because Mads puts a less bizarre and more sinister spin on the character, unlike Depp. Johnny Depp will always be a great actor regardless, but Mads fits Rowling’s characteristics of the character far better. Depp is better at weird, but Mikkelsen is better at being frightening. 

Some parts of this film are slow, some are disturbing , some are shocking and some are thrilling. There a several laugh out moments and some very heartwarming moments too. The creatures in Newt’s suitcase are both fascinating and adorable, making you say in your head, “I want one” to them all. Newt’s love and knowledge of the creatures is both sweet and captivating. His quirks can be seen as both strange and cute. Some attribute his quirks to having high functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder. J.K. Rowling has stated she created Newt as neurodivergent and Eddie Redmayne has said he thinks Newt has Aspergers, but since the movies take place in the 20’s and 30’s, there was no diagnosis. But ASD or not, his behavioral habits just make him more likable. 

This film does tie-in with Harry Potter more than the other two Fantastic Beasts, being it about Dumbledore, but that doesn’t make it any more entertaining than the others. This one is far more slow and too much time is spent on Grindelwald and the Qilin. There is a big chunk of time spent on Dumbledore, but it takes a while before you learn his secrets. Still, not a completely boring film, just not as attention grabbing as the other two or any of the Harry Potter movies. With a run time just over two hours, it seemed this one was crammed with too many characters, too much plot and not enough magic. 

This film is supposed to be about Dumbledore and though, a good percentage of it is, the rest seems to be more about rigging Grindelwald’s election and the rare creatures. Still the movie does have some very cute and hilarious scenes that make this one enjoyable, but not nearly as entertaining as its predecessors. 

Some of the scenes seemed rushed, others seem too slow, but much of the movie doesn’t seem to flow. Many times the film jumps from one setting to another, never spending enough time in any place, making the story a bit confusing. The acting is superb, as well as the costuming, music and scenery, just like the other two, but at least those had more action and less jumping around. This is still a powerful, fantasy filled film that Potter fans will likely enjoy regardless. BTW: Dumbledore’s gay! 17+ 3/5 

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