It’s been four years since The Crimes of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise whose release has been delayed by not only by the pandemic but also the fallout of the UK court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard which ended disastrously for Depp with him losing his undoubtedly lucrative role as Grindelwald. With Mads Mikkelsen now cast in the villainous role it sees the actor tone down the plundering of the dressing up box and the theatrics. After the convoluted plotting of the second film The Secrets of Dumbledore has a tighter rein on the story taking us back to the 1930’s notably to Weimar Berlin where Grindelwald is plotting to take control of the Wizarding World and wage a war on the Muggles.
Newt has captured a creature that is vital in the appointing of any new Wizard Chief but Grindelwald also has one of the creatures which he has bewitched in order for him to win any ‘election’. Like the previous films there’s an array of …well….fantastic beasts but this third episode has its dark and possibly upsetting moments for younger children when Grindelwald slits the throat of one creature in order to resurrect and have it under his command. Newt (Eddie Redmayne) along with Kowalski (Dan Fogler) along with other wizards Professor Hicks, Yusuf Kama, Bunty Broadacre and backed by Dumbledore himself unite in their bid to stop Grindelwald’s plot. Quite what the unknown Secrets of Dumbledore are unclear but with his gay identity the worst kept secret since H from Steps came out it’s his private and personal relationships that are the heart of the film. So obviously Credence (Ezra Miller – watch him lose the plot at the premiere HERE) returns as the story explores their relationship with Miller looking more and more like Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie so there’s hope yet that he might start belting out the bands hit, ‘Get you rocks off‘ to Dumbledore. The franchise gets darker with each film and here there’s an underlying hint of the fascist undertones concealed beneath the surface of politics with Grindelwald hyping up his supporters to a level not seen since an Haribo sugar rush fuelled election rally moments before Donald Trump arrives. As Dumbledore himself says about a pivotal character who enables Grindelwald’s rise to power, ‘he’s taken the easy route rather than the right one’ – which promises to be Boris Johnson’s epitaph too….but in Latin.
As with the Wizarding World films this is of epic length but moves swiftly along with stunning production design and some neat set pieces notably one that sees Newt busting some moves akin to Dad dancing in order to distract the creatures within a subterranean hell hole and a hideous drooling monster with clammy tentacles lurching out to grab them like a date night with Bill Cosby. The Secrets of Dumbledore is the best Beasts film so far with the cast on top form and it all points to a tumultuous endgame for the franchise in what is a highly enjoyable romp.
Watch The Secrets of Dumbledore trailer HERE
Read our review of The Crimes of Grindelwald HERE