Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore - more mindless fun from the Wizarding World


After recently exploring the disaster that is The Crimes of Grindelwald, I was somewhat apprehensive about seeing the third instalment in what is inevitably only the half-way point in this sprawling franchise.

But I was pleasantly surprised to actually see some magical beasts this time around, and not just the money-making figureheads of the series either. There’s plenty of grand set pieces involving giant scorpions, phoenixes and adorable little fawn-like creatures with special effects that will both charm and impress, but simply entertain you too.

In general, it’s a great improvement on the last, returning to the fun and adventurous tones of the first instalment. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had for the die-hard Potter fans too, but as a casual viewer it’s charm and levity will appeal.

The departure of Johnny Depp in favour of Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald is a stroke of genius. He gives the film, and the series now, a much-needed sense of weight and gravitas that they’ve bitterly missed. The opening scene makes sure to address this change and shows off exactly what Mikkelsen can do.

Opposite him however is Jude Law and his best Michael Gambon impression. He’s great in these films really, in fact he’s a far more watchable star than Eddie Redmayne’s bumbling Newt. But you’ll find him taking you right out of the action as he continually questions whether Dumbledore is from England, Wales, Ireland, perhaps Somerset? I’m not sure he knows.

And it hasn’t fully shrugged off all of the franchise’s other problems either. There are plenty of characters without any agency, there to simply fulfil required plot beats. Wand fights feel more like children pointing sticks at eachother in the playground as opposed to the hefty duels of the Potter franchise. Ultimately, it still all feels hollow. Aside from the cute CGI animals, the only time your heart strings are pulled is when you hear John Williams’ familiar Harry Potter riffs.

Although it’s a vast improvement upon the last, The Secrets of Dumbledore is still another blockbuster designed to get nostalgic movie-going bums in cinema seats. And, to be fair, it did just that. So whether you like it or not, we can expect to see plenty more from the “Wizarding World” moving forward. Here’s hoping they can continue to fine tune this franchise and produce something with true value to this cinematic world.

Is it Any Good? It was the most people I’ve seen in a cinema since December’s Spider-Man, and everyone seemed to be having fun with it.