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Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore Review

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore is leaps and bounds above its predecessor, as it delivers a fun and visually stunning adventure.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore movie review

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore is a wonderful welcome back to the Wizarding World, and is sure to put a big smile on fans faces. This is the third in the Fantastic Beasts run, but the ending leaves the door open for several more. After a disappointing second film, The Secrets of Dumbledore a refreshing trip back to its roots. While we could always use more beasts, the new additions that we get are adorable and lovable. Newt is his quirky self, but Tina’s absence is felt. Jacob is as hilarious as ever, but it is Jessica Williams‘ Lally that ultimately steals the show.

In this film it is time for a duel of the ages — Gridelwald versus Dumbledore. But as we know from the previous film they cannot move against each other due to their blood oath. In Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore the two wizards form their teams and start a truly epic war. There is adventure, visually stunning magic battles, heart, and of course, some new fantastic beasts. The movie is not without its flaws, however, it is leaps and bounds above the second one, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which was full of plot holes and quite frankly, confusing at times.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore movie review

The third film in the franchise does its best to right some wrongs from the prior film. Luckily, the writing and dialogue actually pulls this off, and the changes they made in order to save the overall story make sense, and work to make it more cohesive and understandable. In order to avoid spoilers, I will only say this has to do with Credence (Ezra Miller), and I rather enjoyed the changes. 

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore brings back the humor of the first film, and while we don’t get enough new beasts, the ones we get are a lovely addition. They provide for some of the best moments in the film — the cave with Newt had me laughing so hard I was nearly in tears. The first film worked so well because we had these lovely, intimate moments with Newt and his creatures. Thankfully they are brought back here, but admittedly they are pushed to the side. Eddie Redmayne was so very clearly born to play this role, and it is clear how much he loves this character, so this was a bit of let down for me.

The main story told is that of Dumbledore and Grindelwald. We dive into their past in order to get some clarification on their relationship, which fans of the Harry Potter books already know, and we spend a lot of time with them building their army and strategically trying to take each other out without actually moving against one another. Think Oceans 11 type planning — and yes, it is a lot of fun. There are certainly some political moments as well, particularly involving Grindelwald. For me, these were some of the better moments of the film — pointing out how manipulative people can be in order to get the power they wish to have, and how gullible others can be to follow them.

When it comes to the action, there are some very cool wand-to-wand combat scenes, but again, I would have loved more. The visual effects of the magic, and any of the fight scenes, was done really well and is stunning to watch. There are several laugh out loud moments too, which are always welcome to break the tension — because there are several heartbreaking ones as well. 

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore movie review

Going into this movie one of my biggest concerns was that Johnny Depp was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald. Putting aside the reasons why, and my feelings on it, I was worried this would just feel too off when it comes to the story. While at first it certainly is weird, it doesn’t take long for Mads to settle into the role and, quite honestly, blow Depp’s prior performance out of the water. As someone who wasn’t completely sold on Jude Law‘s Dumbledore, he won me over in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore. Law perfectly captures the heart and soul of this wonderful wizard, who is truly a good man. 

Those who were following the updates on this movie know that Tina (Katherine Waterston) was rumored to be in it very little. Unfortunately that is true. I missed her interactions with Newt, who felt a bit pushed to the side at times in this movie, as well. He is certainly in it more than Tina, and he has many great moments, but he wasn’t a main character. Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol) have been apart since the previous installment, so it was a joy to see them interacting again, even if it meant my heart ripping in half on more than one occasion. The most emotional moments in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore easily come from them, as well as Mikkelsen and Law.

When it comes to sass, quick wit, and being a complete badass with a wand, it is Jessica Williams’ Lally that steals the show. Every single scene she is in, is hers. She owns them and is a true powerhouse of an actress. It is impossible not to fall in love with her from the very first time you see her — when she goes to recruit Jacob. A clip of this scene was used in the trailer, but I promise you, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore movie review

A question that is continuously coming up is do you have to have seen the other Fantastic Beasts films to understand this one. The answer is a very big yes. To jump in on the third movie of the franchise would be extremely confusing, and while about an hour in things would likely start to make sense, I cannot say it enough — watch the other two (even though the second one isn’t that great). All that being said, there is no need to watch the Harry Potter films before watching this, although they are a lot of fun and should be seen eventually. Viewers who have seen them will notice several tie-ins, Easter Eggs, and be hit in the feels at times, but it is not a requirement prior to seeing Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore.

This movie has set the whole franchise back on track. Fans will be leaving the theater with a big smile on their face, eager to see what happens next. The end of this film leaves the door open for more adventures in the Wizarding World, and particularly within the Fantastic Beasts storyline. Let’s just hope for more Newt, more Tina, and of course, more beasts.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

NEXT: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore Screening

Fantastic Beasts 3 The Secrets of Dumbledore movie poster

About Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore

Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore hits theaters on April 15th!