Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore ★★★
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Mads Mikkelsen, Jessica Williams, Dan Fogler
Magic, whimsy, dark & light; all of the things that made the Harry Potter series so loveable. We're now three Fantastic Beasts films in, and audiences are hoping the third instalment will redeem a so far stale prequel movement.
The Secrets of Dumbledore sees the titular character (Jude Law) putting together a mismatched team to help stop Grindelwald (played this time by Mads Mikkelsen) from taking over and engaging in all out war with the muggle world.
The energy in this prequel/sequel is in the right places. It lets its actors do a lot of the work, with Eddie Redmayne returning as an ever charming Newt Scamander to perform yet another funny beast-luring dance (though this one may be the best). The film does well to keep all of the characters relevant, with Dan Fogler's Jacob Kowalski remaining an MVP to the franchise and the already captured beasts having their time to shine. Plus Ezra Miller as a conflicted Creedence, Callum Turner as Newt's ministry brother and new addition Jessica Williams as a zestfully charismatic Lally.
The messiness of the previous film, The Crimes of Grindelwald, left the franchise with a lot of unanswered questions and gaping plot holes. So this one can't fully flourish as it's own film as it tries to redeem a so far disappointing spinoff venture by essentially ignoring the issues that came before it. For that reason, there are structural flaws, some characters are essentially retconned (for the better) and the ending isn't sure whether to leave us desperate for more or with a satisfying conclusion.
Although still a bit unsure of itself and sagging in the middle third, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore finds some magic again, and perhaps this film has been good so that the next one can be great! But as less and less people give a niff about the world, they're going to have to pull out all the spells under their hats to make this franchise pop again.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore available in cinemas now