It wasn’t until the night before watching this latest entry that I decided to revisit the second film in this series. I had enjoyed the first one for what it was but the sequel left a big hole with a boring story focusing on the wrong part of what was set up. It failed to be the Empire Strikes Back type film it needed to be, seemingly feeling rushed and sloppy. This left fans uninterested in this franchise, that had more hype behind the reunion special on HBO Max of the Harry Potter cast than a film in this universe.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore sees most of the characters return on their quest to stop Grindelwald, as this time he is trying to become the elected official in charge of the International Wizard Government in his quest to build an army, Dumbledore, Newt and the gang are the only ones that can stop him.
Considering I had low expectations and was strongly disappointed by the previous instalment, giving me little hope and interest in what they were going to do next, I was pleasantly surprised by this installment and had a really good time.
A big talking point of this film was the recasting of Grindelwald to Mads Mikkelsen from Johnny Depp. The biggest plus point of this franchise so far. Mads is an incredible actor, consistently giving great performances no matter what he does, having played a villain multiple times. He is more intimidating than Depp was, not hiding behind a silly accent. This Grindelwald is fighting to be a politician and poses a true threat and feels like he could do damage as well as having better chemistry, particularly opposite Jude Law’s Dumbledore. He brings a certain level of charm, and cockingness to the role which makes him infinetly more interesting than when we’ve seen him before.
The heart of this franchise, and what it should always truly should’ve been about is Newt and his love for bizarre creatures. The best and funnest moments come from Newt getting in a situation where only he could escape due to his expansion knowledge and love. Eddie Redmayne is clearly having a good time and enjoys being this unique character, with his unique animal friends. Similar things can be said about Dan Fogler who has been a bright spark in this series of films.
I thought this was going to be the last installment, and it could be. Without spoiling the film, it ends in an interesting way that if we don’t see the characters again it doesn’t overly matter, but does feel like there’s a strong chance we won’t see the Fantastic Beasts side again at least, with the franchise going in a different direction.
The writing feels more like the universe, and I’m not gonna give any credit of that to J.K. Rowling as she doesn’t deserve it, but her cowriter on this film, Steve Kloves who co-wrote the Harry Potter films, and happily get the closest we have got to acknowledging that Dumbledore is gay. I would happily have just Steve Kloves take over this universe, or just anyone that isn’t an awful person, and causing this universe more harm than it deserves.
Similarly, again without spoiling it, we have an oppurtunity to move past Ezra Miller, someone else who is problematic.
Overall, I had a better time watching this film, maybe it’s because of my love of heist films, something I wish they would’ve delved into more. There is still wand action which doesn’t hit as hard as I would like, still being two light beams just hitting each other. A franchise that has always benefitted from the smaller and heartwarming moments, rather than the epic moments.
What did you think of the latest Fantastic Beasts?
What do you want to see next in the Harry Potter universe? Aside from less JK Rowling.