By: Amanda Guarragi
It has gotten really difficult to be a fan of the Harry Potter franchise because of the Fantastic Beasts films. It’s always fun to go back to Hogwarts and the universe that was created, but what happens when the magic is missing? In Secrets of Dumbledore we get a bit of that magic back, not because of the story, but because of the supporting cast that made this film worth watching. One of the hardest things ever is to walk out of a movie that had the potential to be better than it was. Sure, the special effects were strong, but the direction of the story was not executed that well.
We begin this journey with Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) who knows that 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 and witches. They soon encounter an array of old and new beasts as they clash with Grindelwald’s growing legion of followers. It was nice to see Dumbledore and Newt working together, but unfortunately, Newt is one of the most uninteresting characters to ever lead a franchise. If it weren’t for Jude Law absolutely crushing this role, this movie wouldn’t have been as good as it was.
As a fan of the franchise, we’ve always wanted to know more about Dumbledore, especially his relationship with Grindelwald. But, in this case, it was kind of shoehorned in without any real connection to one another. Sure, they mentioned that they had been lovers, but Law and Mikkelsen’s chemistry was severely lacking to even make it believable. The direction from David Yates was weaker than his previous work, which is hard to believe considering that he has been directing the Harry Potter films since Order of the Phoenix. It doesn’t all fall on him though. This screenplay tried to fix Crimes of Grindelwald with the subplot of Credence (Ezra Miller) while adding wizarding politics with Grindelwald and it just didn’t feel right. There was too much happening and it felt disjointed.
Secrets of Dumbledore is definitely the best installment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and it’s all thanks to Jude Law. Dumbledore’s secrets were on display and his backstory is so interesting. Plus his connection to other characters is explored. In addition to Law and Mikkelsen saving the movie, Dan Fogler as Kowalski and newcomer Jessica Williams as Professor Hicks added some humor along the way. If you’ve wanted to know more about Dumbledore, then you will definitely find this more enjoyable than the previous installments in the franchise. Here’s to hoping that the next Fantastic Beasts films add some more magic that once made Harry Potter so great.