Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Review: A better sequel, but still far from fantastic - SciFiNow

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Review: A better sequel, but still far from fantastic

The third movie of the Fantastic Beasts series is here with Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore. Here is the SciFiNow review…


In the four years since Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was released to poor reviews and disappointing box office returns, some real world developments have impacted the Wizarding World. JK Rowling’s views on gender identity have divided the fandom, Ezra Miller has found himself embroiled in yet another controversy, and Johnny Depp resigned from his pivotal role as Wizard fascist Gellert Grindelwald a week into production at the studio’s request. The latter shake up has led to the casting of Mads Mikkelsen, one of a few improvements in a threequel that is still lightyears away from being fantastic. 

This time round, Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald (no in-story reason nor dialogue is given to his third face change in as many movies) is gaining more followers and scheming to seize political control of the wizarding world. It’s up to Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and his motley team – including magi-zoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his auror brother Theseus (Callum Turner), muggle baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler, delightful), and the highly skilled Professor Hicks (Jessica Williams) – to stop him before it’s too late.

Although a Qilin (a magical, deer-like creature) intermittently gives Grindelwald glimpses of his future, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Dumbledore himself had access to a crystal ball. For his plan – which sees Newt and co disassemble to carry out their own separate missions, so as to confuse Grindelwald – seems to account for every detail to an impossible degree. The film’s bid for political relevancy is also undercooked and very first-base – Grindelwald’s opponents are a woman and an Asian who only get one line of dialogue between them, let alone a chance to offer their own views. 

Still, The Secrets of Dumbledore is not devoid of magic, both literally and figuratively. When the wands are drawn the results are often clever and innovative, adding a visual pop to an otherwise visually muted affair. And Law is the standout among the performances – it’s just a shame that his Dumbledore barely shares the screen with Grindelwald. Indeed, the superb opening scene – which explicitly confirms that the two wizards were once very much in love – has a spark that you wish were as evident in the rest of the film.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is in cinemas on 8 April 2022. Watch a clip from the movie here.