While I have enjoyed most of the Harry Potter movies, my experience with the Fantastic Beast trilogy is a different beast. The original movie was okay, but I did not love it much. The second film, The Crimes of Grindelwald, was horrendous. The third in the trilogy now takes it place squarely better than the second one, but not a film that I ever want to see again.
The second movie was so odd because it seemed to take the few parts of the first film that I really liked and got rid of them in the sequel to make it less about a new story and more about a prequel for Harry Potter. This one has more to it, but it lacks some of the real magic for this world.
Dumbledore is being played by Jude Law and Grindelwald is now Mads Mikkelsen, the third different actor to take the role because so much behind the scenes drama. Mikkelsen is a great choice though and makes Grindelwald much more sinister.
There is not much way of Dumbledore secrets here either. There is a controversial secret that is mentioned quickly and not returned to, but there is little more that falls into the camp of secrets, making the title of the movie not quite accurate.
The first hour and a half to hour and forty-five of this movie was deadly dull to me. I had no idea what was going on and I was not entertained. The only parts that I found at all engaging was Newt (Eddie Redmayne) and his interaction with the beasts in his suitcases. There was a scene where Newt was trying to rescue his brother (Callum Turner) from a prison and he had to do his weird movements to betwixt a group of crab-like things. Redmayne was funny in that scene and he was more charming as Newt than in the other two films.
However, the finale was actually quite engaging, dealing with a political election of sort and a manner of a three-card Monty style caper which I found fun. This last part was much more simple and did a good job of getting me to care about what was happening. The rest of the film I just could not give a bigger crap about and I was wishing it was over for most of the time.
There is no reason this movie needed to be 2 hours and 22 minutes long. That is just excessive for the story that they were telling. This needed to be a more personal film than what we got. There were also way too many characters that meant nothing to me. Outside of Newt and Jacob (Dan Fogler), none of the rest of Team Dumbledore seemed to be worth my time.
Trouble child Ezra Miller was here too as a nephew to Dumbledore, mastering the emo trope. This character was so unremarkable that I did not realize that it was Ezra Miller until the credits.
Perhaps I would have cared more for these characters if the second film was better or if the first film was more memorable, but neither happened and so this third film was muddled and meh.
As I said, the final act was more interesting and elevated the star rating I planned on giving it, but there was just not enough in The Secrets of Dumbledore to recommend the movie. If you loved the first two movies, this would be right up your alley. For me, this is quite the step down from the Harry Potter franchise.