“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” a comprehensive review of the newest addition to the triliogy

Image courtesy of: imdb.com

Image courtesy of: imdb.com

Sophia Fowler '22, Multimedia Manager

As an avid Harry Potter fan for the majority of my childhood and beyond, delving into the movies and books not only within the central franchise, but the additional ones as well, has been tradition. The side franchise of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them naturally fits into that realm. After a thorough binge of the first two movies in the series, and then seeing Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the only way to describe the newest movie within this now trilogy is great, with some minor flukes here and there.
The Fantastic Beasts movies have never struck me as anything more than good, and while The Secrets of Dumbledore is a stark improvement when compared to its predecessors, the consistent problems seen within the entire franchise trail into this movie as well. There continues to be a lack of proper character development, as the main character himself, Newt Scamander, is based off more assumptions and physical attributes, such as his light stutter or inability to make eye contact with another character for more than a moment, than actual action.
The plot holes in this movie seem to be pretty consistent, too, but are not nearly as bad and repetitive as those in the first two Fantastic Beasts movies. Without a thorough prior knowledge of spells and powers mentioned in specifically the Harry Potter series, viewers are bound to be lost as to how obvious questions are not answered. There is very little explanation as to how basic things actually happen.
However, the strength of this movie comes from the strong plot and the amount of explanation it provides for events in the main Harry Potter series. Albus Dumbledore’s backstory is explained just enough to warrant to his relevance in the movie, however leaves just enough room to, in my opinion, open up a whole new franchise surrounding just him as a character. And to be honest, there wasn’t much confusion regarding the actual basis of a plot, as much as there is just minor details, so it’s pretty easy for viewers to follow along with the basic elements of the movie.
While there is a peaceful ending, as most fantasy and action movies entail unless an expected part two is on the way, but as a viewer one of things that frustrated me the most with this movie is how Newt Scamader could easily have achieved a Neville Longbottom moment, or a hero moment of bravery (not just kindness). Newt is continually reflected as a genuinely good human being, however, to enhance his character arc, viewers are still left waiting for his moment of heroism and bravery, which could have easily been achieved in this movie during the climax, but was forgone, instead.
All in all, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the best movie in the franchise, though it has yet to achieve any status above “just good”. With plot holes, lack of characterization, and missed out opportunities to fix both of those, the film fails to reach a level of greatness it could have. However, in the grand scheme of the franchise itself, it’s the best movie viewers have received, and it plays an important role to any Potterhead; helping to explain and illustrate the character of Dumbledore like we’ve never seen him.
And, as a Hufflepuff myself, the film does one more thing – it gives a Hufflepuff the spotlight they deserve.