WASHINGTON — After more than 18 months of research and investigation, the release of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's final report — heralded as the definitive look back at the 2008 turmoil — proved anticlimactic.

The 662-page report was meant to give bipartisan wisdom on the triggers before and the response to the crisis. But upon its official release Thursday, observers questioned its utility, saying it suffered from a lack of consensus among commissioners, a poor narrative of the crisis and very bad timing.

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