The Secrets of Dumbledore is a Magical Return to the Wizarding World


Caroline Bisirri, Staff Writer

It’s no secret that the prior Fantastic Beasts film, The Crimes of Grindelwald was not a hit. While it had generally mixed reviews, fans found the story itself tiresome and pointless, and hadn’t had huge hopes for the third installment. Including major changes to cast and various Covid complications delaying the film, I can’t say I wasn’t concerned either. But, The Secrets of Dumbledore was certainly an improvement to the saga. 

For starters, the film takes place only a little over a year after the first film, still showing very small advancements in time. Beloved characters Dumbledore (Jude Law), Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger), Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) and Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner) return for the premise of this film, alongside new character Eulalie Hicks, portrayed by Jessica Williams. Some familiar faces were also missing or altered for this cast’s ensemble; Katherine Waterston’s Tina Goldstein returns with a very minimal part, despite being the female lead in the previous two films, and Grindelwald was recast as Mads Mikkelson, following the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard controversy. While the fresh faces sparked new interest for devoted fans, the addition of William’s character was underwhelming and seemingly pointless, as most of the plot could’ve been carried out without her. Mikkleson did a great job undertaking the role of Grindelwald, but unfortunately, did not have the same creepy demeanor as Depp’s portrayal, therefore making the villain slightly-less believable. 

The plot, which was mostly to confuse Grindelwald as his power grew, was very exciting to watch, and kept the viewer engaged as many parts of a complicated plot were carried out. This format also allowed for different characters to shine, as it wasn’t one continuous adventure, but rather different missions that all converged at the climax. Unfortunately, the story itself didn’t take us any closer to the long-anticipated Dumbledore-Grindelwald fight readers have been waiting for since the announcement of the Beasts films. It was definitely the kind of time-filler you’d expect from a middle-movie, but made me very curious about how the writers are going to pull out two more movies for this franchise. It seems as though the start of the franchise started too early in history, as the final battle is already confirmed to take place in 1945, and the writers are merely trying to get through without having too-large time jumps in between episodes. The parallels between the wizarding world and the Muggle climate at the time are very interesting, however, and could prove to be mind-blowing as the timeline advances. 

Fantastic Beasts and the Secrets of Dumbledore is one hundred percent worth the watch for Potter fans, if not for the plot, at least for the amazing visual effects, spellcasting, and magical creatures featured on screen. The politics of the wizarding world are also greatly expanded in this movie, which many fans of the franchise would be very excited to see. I would not recommend this for those introducing themselves to the Harry Potter world, as there is a lot of background information you would be missing out on, which would cause the movie to be very confusing.