Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Run time: 2h 20mins
Who: David Yates (director), Jude Law, Eddie Redmayne, Mads Mikkelsen
Where: In cinemas now
After delays, controversies and a global pandemic, the third entry in the divisive Fantastic Beasts series has finally arrived.
This instalment focuses on a younger Dumbledore and his attempt to stop the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald from seizing control of the wizarding world.
Boasting a large ensemble, many plot lines and a driving narrative, The Secrets of Dumbledore is an engaging and enjoyable cinema experience for fans of the franchise.
Jude Law shines as a charming, wise, but ultimately conflicted Dumbledore, while returning cast member Eddie Redmayne is in fine form as shy magizoologist Newt Scamander.
Dan Fogler’s Muggle baker Jacob is a highlight (as he has been across this series) and provides again the necessary heart and warmth to the film.
New cast member Jessica Williams brings a searing swagger to her character Professor Lally Hicks, and stands out from the rest of the cast.
Controversial casting aside, Mads Mikkelsen is terrifying as the dark wizard Grindelwald, entering each scene with an intense snakelike gaze but balancing his intensity with the underlying love he and Dumbledore once shared.
The relationship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore is at the heart of the film with both Law and Mikkelsen providing the necessary depth to make their love and ultimately their heartbreak feel real, despite being placed in a world of wizardry.
The film’s filled with magic and fantastic beasts that will delight younger audiences, although it does verge into political thriller territory at times as well shocking scenes of animal cruelty.
Where the film suffers is having such a large cast, which pushes some characters into the margins.
Enigmatic and mysterious wizard Yusuf Kama is sadly relegated to a strange and slightly illogical plotline despite having one of the more emotional scenes in the film. Additionally, the political candidates that oppose Grindelwald are sorely underdeveloped.
Composer James Newton Howard’s score is a highlight as are the visually exciting fight scenes, despite some oddly confusing magic that isn’t really explained.
Long term Potter director David Yates is a safe and comfortable choice to oversee production. The film and series overall has done really well with showcasing the other wizarding countries around the world and this film is no different.
Special mention should also be given to Colleen Atwood whose impeccable costume design throughout the series remains a treat.
Overall, The Secrets of Dumbledore is a return to form for the franchise and fans of the series will enjoy a political/wizarding heist film that boasts charm and heart, even if the many plot lines need a little sharpening up.