Latest Potterverse Adventure Full of Sound, Fury

By Mark Fields

The third installment (out of a purported 5) in the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts series continues the unfortunate trend of the last, away from the whimsical set-up of the first film and down a path that is both incredibly dour and way-too-reminiscent of the Rowling tale of The Boy Who Lived. Ostensibly the story of magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the saga has devolved into another ultimate conflict between good and evil with a seemingly unstoppable villain and his vaguely familiar goal of wizarding world domination. The series is getting increasing loud, frenetic, and unsatisfying complicated, to the detriment of the story and the characters. I have loved these stories and this world, but increasingly, I can’t follow what’s happening. And the beasts promised by the title have become superfluous to the core narrative. There are occasional glimmers of the Harry Potter charm that won us all over, but the summary effect is that of a once-entertaining guest who has overstayed their welcome.