Sizably better than its predecessor, and coupled with a better script and stronger performances, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is a great addition to the Wizarding World.
Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore is the third sequel in the Fantastic beasts pentalogy. Directed by long-time Harry Potter alum, David Yates, the Fantastic Beasts series follows the life of Newt Scamander in as a set of prequels set before the world-renowned book series. Much of the magic of the Wizarding World now relies on magical incidents and interesting creatures across New York and Paris. For fans of the franchise, new insight on characters like Albus Dumbeldore, and a reintroduction to Gellert Grindelwald, were core elements of the series.
Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore brings back the cast of the past few films with a major recast that improves the film. The film continues conflict between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. In the previous film, Dumbledore leaves much of the real action to the other characters but takes center stage in the newest addition. In many ways, this is an Albus Dumbledore solo film, his backstory and trials take center stage as he asks Newt for help to defeat Grindelwald. New character of Eulalie Hicks, Yusuf Kama, and Bunty are great additions added to the group to provide a dynamic cast.
While conceptually interesting on paper, the results of the Fantastic Beasts franchise has been mixed. The first Fantastic Beasts was solid but failed to capture the magic of Harry Potter. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, however, was a mess. Commonly treated as the worst entry in the Wizarding World franchise, the film did poorly with critics and fans alike. Not much faith was left in the direction of the series and its sequel. Thankfully, many of the faults of the previous films were corrected in the third entry, and a key actor isa reason why.
While Jude Law is great as Dumbledore, Mads Mikkelsen steals the show as Grindelwald. A sizable improvement over Johnny Depp, Mikkelsen perfectly encapsulates the character. His performance was the highlight of the film and a major reason that the third film is the best yet. His chemistry with Law is great on-screen and their storyline is believable..
As much as Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore is Dumbledore’s movie, there could have been much more done with the character to connect it to Harry Potter lore. Many important life events for Dumbledore were briefly mentioned, shifting instead to Newt and the others’ conflicts. While it was great to see Aberforth, I was left wanting more about the Dumbledore family. Perhaps sequels will explore further but this film felt geared for these moments.
Overall, Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore is a worthy addition to the Wizarding World, with a much stronger script and lead performances from Law and Mikkelsen leading the way.