Fantastic Beasts 3 Review
Change the formula or move on
Quick Thoughts - I want to like these movies so badly, but they continue to make it so freaking hard. One of the most interesting moments of the film come when the muggle character, Jacob, is given a wand for the first time. In that moment you realize the main problem with the Fantastic Beasts movies - it doesn’t revel in the wonder and amazement of being a wizard. The original movies were perfect because it gave us a gateway into the magic and awe of wizardry while not taking it for granted - it was kids that were amazed that they got to be a wizard, just like we would be. Fantastic Beast suffers for many reasons, but the main one is that it takes itself too seriously and focuses on characters that have been wizards for decades and are used to it, thus it sucks the magic and mystery of the wizarding world right out of the air. Go ahead and give me that Hogwarts spinoff series.
The Bad - The largest problem with the film is that it isn’t entertaining in the slightest and the pacing is horrendous. Not enough is done to make the audience emotionally invested in what is happening because you literally have no idea what is going on. The main plot of the film is that the gang is trying to stop Grindlewald by confusing him, but to confuse him, no one can know what the plan is (including the audience) except for Dumbledore. The point of this was to confuse Grindlewald, but the result was that it confused the audience.
Additionally, there is almost nothing that happens from a story progression perspective. The question I like to ask following a movie is “what is true at the end of the movie that wasn’t at the beginning” - in this movie it isn’t very much and that is problematic for a series that has struggled to get off the ground. After the first Fantastic Beasts I thought, “Well that was the first movie, I am sure more will happen now that the story is set up.” After the second I thought, “oh cool, they are setting it up for a lot to happen in the third movie.” After the third movie I am thinking, “Is anything ever going to happen in this series”.
Some honorable mentions in the problem department include the plethora of rough accents and a 20 minute prision/cave scene that made no contribution to the plot of the story and attempted to get some cheap laughs and distract the audience from how boring the film was.
The Good - The reason the movie has received more praise than the second installment in the franchise is because the scenes at Hogwarts and Hogsmeade give you a little glimmer of hope on what this series could be. Particularly, an emotional moment following dinner at Hogsmeade is the highlight of the film. Not sure which is worse, them needing to fill this movie with loads of callbacks and locations from the original Potter movies to excite people or that it took them three movies to start doing it.
Rating - 35/100
Best Performance - Jude Law as Dumbledore
Will I watch again - No
Would I recommend - If you don’t deeply love the Harry Potter universe, then don’t waste your time. Even those who love Harry Potter should avoid it, but you probably won’t.
Final Takeaways - There are rumors that if it doesn’t perform well at the box office that they may not make the fourth and fifth movies. If they aren’t planning to change the formula at all, then I desperately hope that they don’t make the last two movies so that I can stop wasting my time on these films. If they do go forward with more movies, it is time to fully commit to Dumbledore or another character that we actually care about. Change the formula or move on.