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Why Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore Gives Fans Tonal Whiplash

The release of "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore," the "Harry Potter" prequel series following magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), has now given fans three of the five films that were initially promised by author J.K. Rowling (via USA Today). The first, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," received an overall positive response from both fans and critics (via Rotten Tomatoes), with some critics noting that Rowling managed to create a new world that still feels similar to "Harry Potter." However, the 2018 sequel, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," missed the mark entirely, with many comments surrounding the film's inability to maintain audience engagement.

Just as things were starting to look dim for the franchise after the poor reception of "Crimes of Grindelwald," the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Gellert Grindelwald actor Johnny Depp was let go (via Variety), which brought the third movie to a screeching halt. Ultimately, Depp was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen (via Deadline) and the film was released on April 15, 2022 (via IMDb). The third movie has again received mixed reviews. Critics mostly disapprove, but fans seemed to respond considerably better than with "Crimes of Grindelwald."

Although, it doesn't seem that all "Harry Potter" fans are satisfied by "The Secrets of Dumbledore," with some, in particular, pointing out that the film gives them complete tonal whiplash.

Fans think Secrets of Dumbledore is trying to be too many things

In a recent thread on Reddit where fans house an official discussion on "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore," u/claymationrobot said that their biggest issue with "Secrets of Dumbledore" is tone. "It wants to be a wacky, [Roald Dahl]-like adventure but also a hard-nosed fantasy drama." They went on to write that the film tries sending subliminal messages about fascism but then removes the obstacle by letting a magical creature decide the fate of the next leader of the Wizarding World.

U/luxdns also pointed out that a dinner scene at the German Ministry of Magic feels off. "​​It was bouncing between calm and serious. Then Jacob accidentally uses magic, and the room just quietly gets up and slowly makes their way out, followed by a strangely not tense (and very short) battle." U/College_advice12 added that this struggle with tone appears to be a "running theme" with the franchise, as they felt "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" had a similar issue.

Whether J.K. Rowling and screenwriter Steve Kloves did struggle with the script or not, the overall reception could mean that the third "Fantastic Beasts" movie could mark the end of the franchise, as Warner Bros. has been rumored to be putting the films on the backburner until they see how "Secrets of Dumbledore" performs (via Variety).