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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore Has Rotten Tomatoes Critics Seriously Divided

The upcoming film, "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" (the third film in the prequel series) directed by "Harry Potter" veteran David Yates picks up several years after the events of 2018's "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald." The new installment follows Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) as he enlists Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to help him fight against Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen), the dark wizard seeking out control of the wizarding world. The film also stars Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, and Jessica Williams, among many others. J.K. Rowling, who wrote the first two films, returned as a screenwriter, although this time she teamed up with Steve Kloves (aka the writer of all but one of the "Harry Potter" films).

The "Harry Potter" series is undeniably one of the most beloved film franchises of all time. Thus, any film in connection to the series is going to face intense scrutiny by critics and fans alike. The first film in the prequel series, 2016's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," fared pretty well with critics, earning itself a 74% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the follow-up film, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" didn't even come close to achieving the same kind of success with viewers — it holds a mere 36% Tomatometer score.

So, how does the upcoming "Secrets of Dumbledore" compare to its predecessors when it comes to critical consensus? Well, it falls squarely in the middle at a 62% Tomatometer score, at press time, as it seems that critics are seriously divided about the merits of the new "Fantastic Beasts" film. Here's a rundown of what they think.

Many critics were not impressed

Despite "The Secrets of Dumbledore" nabbing a better Tomatometer score than its 2018 predecessor, many critics were still not impressed with the latest effort of the franchise. Speaking for many of the critics who didn't love the film, Entertainment Weekly declared that "the third time is not quite the charm."

Some critics found that the film lacked focus and felt generally all over the place. One of the critics, Kate Erbland of IndieWire, wrote that the film offers "an unwieldy, mostly unsettling mash-up of adult themes and childish whimsy, made still more inscrutable by too many subplots, too many characters, and a tone that veers wildly off-course at every possible turn." Erbland adds that the series has yet to be able to "effectively marry its disparate threads."

Meanwhile, Charles Bramesco of Polygon first suggests the series should've called it quits after the last movie before pointing out that Newt — who began the series as the protagonist — hardly seems intertwined in the plot here. Noting that his misplacement does harm to the film as a whole, Bramesco wrote, "Newt's convoluted, anticlimactic quest to secure and deliver his precious cargo lacks the delighted curiosity that lent the first 'Fantastic Beasts' a much-needed bump in charm."

Finally, in a scathing review, Siddhant Adlakha of IGN wrote, "There are two more entries planned, but ending the 'Harry Potter' spinoff here would be a mercy. There's nothing fantastic about the new movie. The story is dull. The characters are duller."

Some critics had a more positive take

Even though Entertainment Weekly implied the film missed its mark, writer Leah Greenblatt was still one of the critics to find some merits — she concluded on the note that "The Secrets of Dumbledore" is a major step up from its predecessor, deeming it "nimbler and sweeter and more cohesive in its storyline." Greenblatt also noted that the cast, because they are "less trapped in a fug of half-formed symbolism and subplots" are given more room to realistically explore the stakes their characters face.

Further, on the subject of the acting, Peter Debruge of Variety noted that Mads Mikkelson is better suited for the character of Gellert Grindelwald than Johnny Depp, who played the character in the previous film. (Depp exited the franchise after losing a libel case regarding abusive behavior toward his ex-wife Amber Heard, as reported by EW). Debruge wrote that Mikkelson offers a "more grounded, less cartoonishly menacing vein." Debruge also joined Greenblatt in addressing the ways in which the new film is superior to the one that came before it, writing that the screenplay is "far more focused" and "easier to follow" than the last one.

In one of the most positive reviews — 4 out of 5 stars — Linda Marric of The Jewish Chronicle called it a "welcome return to form" and gave special praise to the performances of Law and Mikkelson. Marric continued, "Yates, Rowling, and Kloves have given us an engaging story peppered throughout with some funny, heartfelt and exciting action sequences."

"Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" will premiere in theaters on April 15.