Pretty much every 90's kid remembers Harry Potter. More or less every pop culture enthusiast remembers the tale of the boy who lived and the chosen one. Those were the good times.
The stories replete with lore and legends yet simple and enrapturing. The characters were easy to follow and most importantly the significance of each character was self-evident.
The prequel franchise 'Fantastic Beasts', is infamous for fumbling everything which 'Harry Potter' did so well. In the beginning of the franchise it was presumed that Newt Scamander would be made the central character. Lo and behold, that never was the case.
The plot took numerous twists for the worse involving too many characters which makes the audience ask the question, "What is going on here?" By the third installment of the franchise, 'Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore', trying to involve an expansive pantheon rather than just one hero might have been seen as an ambitious idea. The ideation and execution however, was utterly poor.
Woes of the Wizarding World
'Secrets of Dumbledore' starts off with Credence who has been taken under the wing of Grindelwald to be used as a weapon against Dumbledore. Newt Scamander is on his usual preservation efforts for magical creatures. After a brief tussle with Grindelwald's goons, it is revealed that Grindelwald aspires to accomplish his sinister goals through more political means. To foil his plans of evil, Grindelwald's arch rival Dumbledore assembles a team that feels like a very bad version of the order of the phoenix.
Together, with the help from Scamander's retinue of magical creatures, this group of wizards and witches climb every mountain and swim every ocean to achieve their goal, which is never explained in detail or even causal relationships. The film takes viewers to new and never before seen places of the wizarding world. Dumbledore's sextet have to outmaneuver a prescient entity, blood-pacts other nonsensical McGuffins through their collective cunning and guile. As per the title, the whole plot revolves around a fantastic and magical creature, which can impart and take away massive political power.
Through twists, turns and intricate politics, the story delves deep into Dumbledore's origin and past. The secret however, is not just limited to Albus Dumbledore. His brother Aberforth Dumbledore also has his own fair share of secrets and obscure motives. Both of them have to embrace their darkest of moments to prevail in their journey to do good.
The entire 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise was set as a prequel tale of events to that of 'Harry Potter'. Naturally, the expectation would be no less than an absolute blast of magic, spells and exploration of the extraordinary wizarding world. This is where the imagination of a magical world breaks its boundaries. Since the first film of the franchise, 'Fantastic Beasts' did not really live up to those expectations. 'Secrets of Dumbledore' perhaps is an even more tedious expansion in that regard.
The film has very little to offer when it comes to the explosive magical side. Instead the entire film heavily relies upon political dogma. When the audience would expect Newt to do something amazing with his creatures or perhaps Jacob Kowalski to do something absolutely brilliant as a muggle, the viewers will instead be presented with political figures bandying words in an underwhelming cold war.
In "The Secrets of Dumbledore," almost everything is an esoteric plot point. Almost the whole cast has been reduced to one-note plot devices by director David Yates. If an audience has any feelings for Newt Scamander, the unusual introverted hero of this saga, they'll be dismayed to see that his screen time has been drastically reduced and his significance in the tale has been limited to the rescue of a single, solitary animal. He's constantly present, but he's less involved in events than ever before. He no longer even moves the plot forward; it is now Dumbledore's responsibility.
It's difficult to care about any of the many characters in "The Secrets of Dumbledore" since none of them have their own hook or character arc. Even those with substantial stories and character arcs built in from earlier installments, such as Credence Barebone, appear to have lost practically all interest in whatever they were doing as "The Crimes of Grindelwald" concluded and now appear grimly determined to plow through to the climax.
The most significant change in the cast has been Mads Mikkelsen replacing Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. The rest of the cast reprise their roles with Eddie Redmayne as Newt, Jude Law as Dumbledore and Ezra Miller as Credence.