Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore had a lot resting on its shoulders. After the disaster that was The Crimes of Grindelwald, the franchise not only fired one of the stars, Johnny Depp, but it also had to find a way to bounce back from a bad sequel. Well, as a mega-fan of Harry Potter and the Wizarding World franchise, I am happy to report that The Secrets of Dumbledore is a step in the right direction and a return to form for the franchise. It’s an enjoyable outing that I think fans will appreciate. Let’s get into why I recommend seeing The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Let’s start with the biggest change in the movie…the casting of Grindelwald. In the past, Johnny Depp played the role but due to his ongoing legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, and the allegations that came out of it, he was fired from the franchise after filming only one scene for The Secrets of Dumbledore. Wizarding fans were quick to fan-cast Hannibal actor, Mads Mikkelsen and a few weeks later, it was announced that he would be Depp’s replacement. Well, I’m happy to report that Mikkelsen is not just a suitable replacement for Depp, in my opinion, he should have been cast in this role from the start. Mikkelsen is truly terrifying as Grindelwald and his presence is felt throughout the entire film, even when he’s not on screen. I cannot wait to see more of Mikkelsen in the role, should Warner Bros. give the green light for Fantastic Beasts 4 and 5.
Something else I really enjoyed was the focus on the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. I think that, along with films like Brokeback Mountain and Love, Simon (a personal favourite of mine), this film does a great job of showcasing a same-sex couple. The two actors have wonderful chemistry and you can see that they still have some repressed love for one another. There are many layers to their relationship, and should we get sequels, I can’t wait to see it fleshed out more.
The VFX in this film were top-notch. There’s a great scene in the film where Creedence and Albus are dueling and the effects are a visual spectacle and a ton of fun to watch. The creature designs in the film are also well-done thanks to some very impressive work from the VFX team.
I think that my biggest issue with the film was the visual look of it. While I understand that the story is set in a darker time in the Wizarding World, it seems like the crew went out of their way to make everything as grey as possible. I was hoping that there would be some more eye-popping colour in the film.
Overall, I think that The Secrets of Dumbledore is a return to form for the Harry Potter franchise. While it’s still not perfect, it’s easily the best entry in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and a step in the right direction.