Potter fans will enjoy the theatrical experience of Fantastic Beasts

Synopsis: Albus Dumbledore assigns Newt and his allies with a mission related to the rising power of Grindelwald.
Director: David Yates
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Mads Mikkelsen

Sometimes after a major series ends and there is a spinoff or a continuation, you must ask yourself, “Do I want to go back?”

We had The Lord of the Ring trilogy, and then The Hobbit series came out, and we asked ourselves Do I want to go back? We had three incredible Star Wars movies ending with The Return of the Jedi, and then the prequels came out, and we asked ourselves “Do I want to go back?” The question, for me, really focuses on the story. Are they further developing a story or just, to be blunt, milking the success of previous interest for the almighty dollar? Let’s be clear, movies make money, and it’s a business. I have no issue with that, but sometimes when we are just seeing sequel after sequel and the story doesn’t improve, and it’s all a money grab, then what’s the point?—think Saw: The Final Chapter.

The Harry Potter series was extremely successful at the box office. Eight films and $7.7 billion successful. Warner Brothers would be crazy not to look at continuing this in some way to capitalize on the popularity of the Potter films. And the studio that brought us The Batman, Dune, and Tenet, definitely isn’t crazy.

Several years after the Harry Potter movies concluded, we were introduced to the Fantastic Beast series. It serves as a prequel to the Harry Potter movies. So, the question is, Do I want to go back? For Potter fans, the answer is yes, of course. Otherwise this would be an extremely short review. I like this series because David Yates, who directed the last few Harry Potter movies, has also been at the helm for the Fantastic Beast series. I appreciate the continuity. We have seen multiple directors for a film series, and sometimes it works, but a lot of times it doesn’t. The first two Fantastic Beasts movies have made over $1 billion combined, so another film wasn’t a surprise.

The casting of this series is also important, and Yates has put together a strong ensemble. Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne, multiple Academy Award nominee Jude Law, one of the brightest young stars in Ezra Miller, and to top it off, Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in last year’s Academy Award-winning International film, Another Round.

When I am reviewing a film, I often think of things from the point of view of the intended audience. Regardless of whether you find yourself entranced in the wizarding world, you can’t help but be captivated by this film. Visually, this is a stunning film. The special effects are on point and a delight for your eyes. I very much enjoyed seeing it on the big screen.

Where this film feels a little flat for me is the story. With respect to the hardcore fans, I will try to be vague. There just seems to be too much going on. We have Grindewald, Mikkelsen, who is trying to start some chaos. We have so many characters to keep track of, and some performances in the film are strong while others just aren’t.

Redmayne plays timid very well, and you feel every bit of angst in his character.

I also found the film to be somewhat uneven. The movie started strong with excitement and energy, but the second act wasn’t as exciting for me. I felt, at times this film was interchangeable with the previous installment, The Crimes of Grindewald. The third act, for me, is where this movie really shines. I found that piece to be entertaining and exciting. But overall, the film was uneven.

If you are a fan of the series, there will be something in this movie for you to enjoy. I am confident the target market will soak up this film, flaws and all, and enjoy the theatrical experience.

If you aren’t a fan of the series, it may be a harder sell. I do not regret seeing this movie; again, visually it’s stunning. I just didn’t leave the theatre needing anything more from the Fantastic Beasts.

Grade: C+

Watch the trailer below: