‘Fantastic Beasts’ is far from fantastic

The third installment of the franchise struggles to find steam.



From left to right: Jessica Williams, Callum Turner, Dan Fogler, Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022).

Atreyu Hinckley, Staff Writer

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” is the third of what is planned to be five films in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, a spin-off of the Harry Potter series. The same cast returns for this film, aside from Mads Mikkelsen who takes over the role of Gellert Grindelwald after Johnny Depp was dropped from the role.

The film is visually stunning just as the previous two, but is ultimately weakened by inconsistent pacing and a drawn out 2 hour and 22 minute runtime. Much like the previous installment, the film struggles with its screenplay. 

Unlike the Harry Potter franchise, the Fantastic Beasts series finds itself severely lacking in source material to rely on and support its on-screen depiction. The biggest problem the film suffers from is a considerable amount of plot holes that continue to plague the franchise. A good amount of them are spoilers, but many Harry Potter fans have already taken to the internet to point them out and vent their frustrations about them. This hurts the films when it doesn’t have a book source to fully lean on, only tales that were briefly told and then going from that.

Another issue with the film is the war between Albus Dumbledore and Grindelwald and its tendency to overshadow the main protagonist of the trilogy, Newt Scamander, who has been played brilliantly by Eddie Redmayne throughout the franchise.

Jude Law and Mikkelsen are fantastic as Dumbledore and Grindelwald respectively, with their on-screen relationship being some of the biggest highlights of the film. This is enhanced by their dialogue and brief battles, which play a part in helping the screenplay out at times.

Had the filmmakers and J.K. Rowling decided to make their war separate from involving Scamander and made the first film a standalone, the entirety of the trilogy would be much better. Instead, we have two sides of main characters that are inadvertently fighting over screen time. Unfortunately, Scamander takes the loss because of how big of a deal the Global Wizarding War is to Harry Potter fans.

The film from a visual standpoint is beautiful to look at, especially when it comes to the action sequences involving magic. But the screenplay is what’s holding the franchise back from its true potential. There are still two films left to go, so there is hope for the films to pick up the pace, as we inch closer to the epic final battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald that fans only had a glimpse of in the Harry Potter books.