I expected a lot more magic from a movie about wizards. While there are a few scenes that tickle my desire for wizard violence, it is often cut short for political garbage that I didn’t care for. If I wanted to watch a political movie about zealots and corruption, there are better avenues.
As far as prequels go, I don’t think The Secrets of Dumbledore was necessary. I don’t feel like the Fantastic beasts series really add much to the Harry Potter universe. While I thought the first Fantastic Beasts was fine, The Secrets of Dumbledore feels like a large derailment. Character growth was undone, magic rules are changed, and they took out all the beasts. This is a world where disaster can be done and undone at will, but in this movie we have to sit through procedural nonsense. All I want from my wizard movies is cool wizard battles.
This movie has a fantastic cast and there are some fun, and some creative fights, but energy is wasted on a dull plot. There is all this build up to an epic fight between good and evil, but the battle isn’t epic. The setup is mostly perfect too, if you ignore the zealot nonsense and the weird dear ritual. There are tense and suspenseful moments as the heroes fight evil. You get a meaningful connection between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, but then the fight is a huge let down. It is outclassed and outshined by earlier less essential fights. Where did this momentum go? Where is all the magic? Where are all the beasts?
I don’t think knowing any of the secrets added any character to Dumbledore, nor do I think this movie adds anything meaningful to the franchise. I am sure there is an audience for this movie, but this movie wasn’t for me. But what do I know, I am just a casual. You can watch it now on HBO.