Fantastic Beasts The Secrets of Dumbledore Review: Casts a Simple, but Fun, Spell

In 2016 the Magical World of Harry Potter started a new journey with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Taking place in a different era, this story followed Newt Schamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his journey to find his missing creatures. In my opinion, the film was refreshing with its sense of adventure as well as world-building. Needless to say, the movie was a success in the box office and this was enough incentive for the filmmakers to continue this venture as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be the first movie in a five-film series. The journey continued in 2018 with the sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The sequel did not find the same success as its predecessor from either fans or critics (though I cannot say that I share those sentiment). Nevertheless, the series would continue and though it took longer than anticipated the next adventure of Newt and company has come in the latest installment- Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Directed by long time Wizarding World alumni David Yates, the new film sees Newt embark on a mission to help Dumbledore (Jude Law) stop Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelson) from taking over the Wizarding World. The new film sets out to establish the Wizarding World prior to World War 2 as well as answer a few questions surrounding the iconic character. I was excited to see what would happen next in this series and while I may not have been bedazzled by it, I found myself satisfied with The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Going into this third installment, I was curious to see where The Secrets of Dumbledore would take the story that began in 2016, and the result was an adventure filled with intrigue, excitement and little confusion. The story had the right amount of investing aspects to keep me engaged, but it felt like the film had a hard time balancing out all its elements. Aspects such as the conflict between Dumbledore and Credence (Ezra Miller) felt rushed while the inclusion of the Supreme Mugwump election was interesting but needed clarification. Yet it goes without the saying that the plot had its merits. Along with its thrilling sense of adventure, the plot was thematic in nature and the drama between Dumbledore and Grindelwald continued to be the element that binds this era of the Wizarding World. While some of its direction was questionable, this story was able to tie up loose ends while being another part in a bigger tale-a tale that I hope to see more of in the years to come.

Despite the unexpected nature of the story, one element that lived up to expectation was the cast. The Wizarding World has been filled with fantastic ensembles and this one did not disappoint. Despite not having much progression in this tale, Newt continued to be a fitting guide for the audience though his interactions with his brother Theseus (Callum Turner) and Dumbledore brought some interesting aspects to his character. Meanwhile returning members like Jake (Dan Folger), Queenie (Allison Sudol) and Credence were each stellar additions to the cast-however I was hoping to see a little more from Queenie and Credence. As for new characters the addition of Newt’s assistant Bunty (Victoria Yeates) was enjoyable as was the inclusion of Ilvermorny Professor Lally Hicks (Jessica Williams). As for the title character, Jude Law continues to impress as Dumbledore by bringing the allure that has made the future Headmaster so iconic while emphasizing new aspects to Dumbledore's humanity. Rounding things out for the cast was none other than Mads Mikkelson as Grindelwald. Unpopular as it may be, I did like Johnny Depp’s take on Grindelwald as he gave the villain an enigmatic charisma that was intriguing as the character’s appearance. However, Mikkelson brought a sense of nuance to the dark wizard that was equally as impressive as his subtle cruelty made Grindelwald not only a formidable foe, but a worthy addition to this magical ensemble.

Given the series reputation, The Secrets of Dumbledore having a sense of spectacle to it was to be expected, and for the most part this new installment delivered. While it may not have broken new ground, the movie’s visuals felt appropriate for its respected franchise. Although when it came aspect such as the magical duels, the movie was rather impressive. While some sequences were a bit quick for my liking, I cannot deny that each duel featured the right amount of magic to stand out and show that the series has come a long way since the concept was established. Last and certainly not least was the music by James Newton Howard. The score from the previous installments have been impressive and the latest soundtrack was no different. While the score relied on its established themes it still worked for the movie by giving it the right tone and ultimately gave the Wizarding World another magical soundtrack to its impressive repertoire.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore was not the movie I expected it to be. When it came to its storytelling, the movie could be underwhelming and felt like in between tale oppose to a defining chapter. However this chapter did have its moments. Along with being adventurous, elements such as characters and spectacle were fitting of any movie in this franchise. While it may not have been the return I could have hoped for, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore still had the adventure and magic that has made this series so enjoyable and I remain curious to see where Newt Schamander, and the rest of the Wizarding World, heads next.

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