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"It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices." -Albus Dumbledore

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore: CocaCola Review

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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

This should go without saying, but there will be spoilers so turn away now if you don't want them. Everything I say will be subjective, my own opinion. If you have a different one, that's perfectly fine. If you want me or anyone else to care, express it respectfully or don't express it at all.

I was not quite as excited for Yates' newest film as I should have been all things considered but I think that it was my low expectations that allowed for the movie to satisfy me in the first place. Probably the best of the series so far, Secrets of Dumbledore is a movie that delivers in most of the ways it means to deliver, with the only question being: What are the secrets of Dumbledore?

Characters

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The characters in the third Fantastic Beasts movie, both new and old, had roles to fill and they filled them, with adequate acting to boot. Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander is by far and away the best acted character in the film, Redmayne absolutely defines Scamander and nobody else could possibly play the character and all the subtleties about him the way Redmayne has managed to. Only while writing this review am I appreciating that Scamander was an acted character and not a real person himself. This not to take away from the others supporting the protagonist; Professor Hicks (Jessica Williams) was a very fun addition to the series and Dan Fogler absolutely killed it as Jacob Kowalski. Even the rather basic role of Callum Turner's Theseus and several others were fulfilled well.

The darker side of magic did not lack in good writing or acting. Though I wish that Johnny Depp had kept the role of Grindelwald, the character was done great justice by Mads Mikkelsen, whose performance was chilling and convincing for a well written wizard. However, I am sad to say that Grindelwald is where my praise of the villains ends, as everyone else had little quality script to work with and no foundation to build upon compared to the central antagonist. The only other notable character, Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) is possibly my favorite but I do not think she was given nearly enough screentime, and in the end she ended up not being a villain in the first place.

I am most sad to say that my (second) least favorite character and actor- among the ones worth noting, that is- was Jude Law's Dumbledore. Though there was little technically wrong with Law's performance as the greatest wizard of his time, I found myself several times thinking about his acting and how I just wasn't convinced that I was looking at Albus Dumbledore. Though I'm more than willing to ignore it the first time, I could not help but notice thinking to myself "He's acting." Personally, i do blame this a bit on the writing, since we were faced with what felt to me like a hundred million scenes of Dumbledore just looking around or staring into space, but regardless, even with some good scenes sprinkled throughout, I found myself most disappointed by the good professor, finding his brother Aberforth (Richard Coyle) more enjoyable to watch. The only character and acting worse than Dumbledore's was Ezra Miller's Credence, who, quite frankly, I thought sucked. Bland and uninspired, plain and simple.

I give this movie's characters a 6/10 rating.

Story

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The basic plot of the film is the typical villain-wants-to-become-leader story line. Since Grindelwald has the ability to see the future, the characters have to confuse him with their actions and stop him from becoming leader, which he does through the trickery of bewitching a corpse of a pure animal used to decide who should lead. Grindelwald continues to build a following and though he fails in the end, he does not lose many followers. The bond between the lovers is broken now, which is rather exciting to say the least, setting up the inevitable Great Duel.

I absolutely adore the way the Fantastic Beasts series manages to never forget that the protagonist is a magic zoologist. Just in doing so, we are given delicious worldbuilding, a one-of-a-kind feel and theme, great potential for comedy, and the stereotypical "cute animal" makes a bit more sense and isn't as aggravating as it can sometimes be elsewhere, when it's already one of the least annoying tropes out there. The scene with Newt breaking out Theseus was possibly my favorite in the whole movie simply for how loudly it yells "THIS IS FANTASTIC BEASTS!"

Despite it being its own thing, the movie also never forgets that it is a sequel to one of the most iconic and popular fantasy stories of all time. The use of magic is both nostalgic as old scenes are alluded to, such as the first clash between Harry and Voldemort, and innovative as we see some very cool ways that the magic is used in scenes such as Dumbledore and Credence's duel. Scratch what I said earlier- the scene where everyone opens the suitcases and gets attacked is my favorite scene. The music of the original series combined with some of the most Harry Potter-like comedy imaginable put a genuine big smile on my face.

One teensy complaint I have that perhaps one of you readers can explain: WHAT WAS DUMBLEDORE'S SECRET?

I give the film's story a 7/10.

Visuals

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Business as usual with high-hype superhero movies these days. The cinematography was great, the special effects were immaculate, and the wide shots were beautiful. The camera work was often reminiscent of Harry Potter, and by far the greatest thing about the movie was how incredible the Fantastic Beasts looked. You couldn't have convinced me that they were fake at some points if I didn't know it before I walked in the theater.

The visuals gain a solid 9/10 from me.

Conclusion

I'm giving Secrets of Dumbledore an 8/10. Overall a rather average movie if you truly wanted to get critical, it was a fun experience and something I wouldn't mind rewatching at all. For certain the best one so far, this movie truly earns its place as an addition to Rowling's great franchise.

Thank you for reading my review.

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