Title – Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)
Director – David Yates (The Legend of Tarzan)
Cast – Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Mads Mikkelsen
Plot – The wizarding adventures of Newt Scamander (Redmayne) continue as he must work with Hogwarts stalwart Albus Dumbledore (Law) to stop the devious Gellert Grindelwald (Mikkelsen) from enacting out his dastardly plans.
“Should you agree to do what I ask, you’ll have to trust me, even when every instinct tells you not to”
Review by Eddie on 12/04/2022
In pleasing a result, the third entry into the Fantastic Beasts franchise (a franchise that seemingly exists with support but no dedicated fanbase or huge fanfare) is a marked improvement on the dire misstep that was 2018’s The Crimes of Grindelwald, even if Harry Potter veteran director David Yates still can’t find the real magic to enliven this wizarding world property to a level that would have it competing in the same space as the beloved films that came before this J.K Rowling property.
Becoming less and less about the titular beasts that started this Eddie Redmayne lead adventure all the way back in 2016 and more about trying to draw in extra audience engagement and enthusiasm by bringing back known staples such as Hogwarts and a much more prevalent Albus Dumbledore into this latest outing, you can see the battle raging between Fantastic Beasts trying to figure out exactly what it is and who its for and its a battle that isn’t won clearly by the conclusion of this third outing, making it a sometimes frustratingly cold experience that still manages to entertain to decent degree.
Without a clear identity or even a character we can truly call our own, with Redmayne’s Newt Scamander getting to do his awkward shtick here once more but feeling more like a bystander to whats going on around him, with new addition Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald growing in power and his old acquaintance Dumbledore trying to assemble a crack team to help thwart his plans, Fantastic Beasts is hamstrung by its inability to focus its attention into a specific story arc or character journey, with its drab grey and gloomy sets, dark themes and heavy topics feeling rather unmagical for a film that potentially could’ve finally shed the shackles of past expectations to really let fly with some inventiveness and spark.
There are snippets of such things here, a prison escape and some brief moments spent back in the halls of Hogwarts but for a majority of the films two hour plus runtime there’s not a whole lot of memorable moments delivered in Yates film, which is by no means offensively bad or incoherent like much of Crimes of Grindelwald was but it still makes you wish someone could take hold of this property and turn it into the possibly great series it could be, something that is unlikely now with two films left to come.
While not inspiring much jaw-dropping or magical chills, there’s still an undeniable cinematic goodness to Rowling’s magic filled universe and there is a feeling here that with Dumbledore building his ragtag group of foot soldiers and with Mikkelsen giving Grindelwald a significant amount of menace and unnerving energy, there’s hope yet still that the final chapters of Rowling’s mid-tier and seemingly unloved property can still work to a level that will ensure we walk away from the Fantastic Beasts series indifferent in ways but not upset at what’s been done to our beloved world of wizards, witches and muggles (and the odd beast or two).
Final Say –
Still far removed from even the lesser of the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a small step back in the right direction following the crimes of the last entry and while its still not awe-inspiring by any stretch of the imagination, its a passable diversion of anyone with a passing interest in the Harry Potter cannon.
3 crab walks out of 5