They blow spells of war. The dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald has been arrested, but something is changing in the wizarding world. “Dangerous times favor dangerous men”, a phrase that is heard in Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets and that aptly defines the tone of the film. However, the plot advances in fits and starts, since from the second film a battle is anticipated that never comes.
Grindelwald, now played by Mads Mikkelsen, embodies with ease and without excessive flourishes a more sordid and less extravagant character than that of Johnny Depp. His master plan is to become the leader of the magicians to crush the muggles, the non-magical ones. JK Rowling does not mince words and draws an analogy between the antagonist and Adolf Hitler. At the same time, she portrays contemporary society and the rise of populism: reason recedes into the background and the messages go straight to the heart, to feelings of hate.
The plot moves slowly
Rowling, immersed in a spiral of controversy, repeats as the author of the libretto, although this time accompanied by Steve Kloves. The veteran screenwriter, who has handled all of the Harry Potter film adaptations (with the exception of The Order of the Phoenix), helps execute the enchantment, though fails to keep the spell moving. Almost as if they had been thrown a petrificus totalusthe different plot lines get stuck in a swing of characters who do things.
Dumbledore’s Secrets has a basic problem stemming from the previous films. Characters like Credence or Queenie have starred in absurd script twists, which are not solved in this third installment. On the other hand, the almost total absence of Tina is ridiculously justified.
It is difficult for the saga to sustain its proposal because the premise of the first film was one and that of the following ones was very different. Magical creatures have progressively lost prominenceto the point that the Fantastic Beasts logo appears smaller and smaller in front of the subtitle.
The future of history goes in a different direction, that of the inevitable confrontation between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald. In one of the first scenes, the characters of Mads Mikkelsen and Jude Law leave no room for ambiguity and clearly express that they were more than friends, that they were in love. That is why they made a blood pact that now prevents them from fighting. More or less, everything that is narrated serves to prepare what is to come. A pity considering the chemistry between the two actors, which could have been used more.
The plan to unmask Grindelwald
In all this mess is the famous magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who returns to basically do Dumbledore’s dirty work, as well as the muggle Jacob Kowalski and the rest of the characters. They dance around him to implement a plan which isn’t exactly a plan, because they need to confuse a Grindelwald who can glimpse fragments of the future.
There is a strange magical animal capable of looking through the soul of human beings. He is so pure that he only kneels before the kind. It turns out that two copies of this unusual creature have been born, so Grindelwald decides to kill one of them and cast an illusory spell that it will allow you to deceive the citizens. Dumbledore’s Secrets introduces at this point a somewhat superficial but interesting political plot, because it reminds us of our own reality. However, it is subject to a mythological element that goes beyond democracy: the acceptance of the leader by a magical animal.
The protection of the surviving creature becomes the main objective of the protagonists, since it is the only reliable proof that the dark magician is deceiving his followers. This plot base is not enough to support the entire weight of the film, although in between the tape leaves us impressive visual printsespecially on the widest shots. The main musical theme of Harry Potter, composed by John Williams, is reserved exclusively for the Hogwarts sequences, where a nostalgia little given to subtlety, although very welcome, is exploited.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore explores Credence’s origins and his alleged link to the Dumbledore family, a forced story arc that began in The Crimes of Grindelwald and is further explored in this film. His identity and his desire to belong carries a feeling of abandonment who is manipulated by the dark magician with half-truths, with which he tries to contaminate his soul so that he fulfills his designs. The idea transferred to the script does not come to fruition because the twist of the second film twists the character, although the conclusion in this one manages to fit the pieces better.
The film continues to be a hodgepodge of ideas, some attractive, that together build a product that lacks packaging. Not because it is not entertaining, which it is and quite a lot. Not because it’s terrible, which we didn’t think so, but because the protagonists have taken too many turns and because the plot is, in some way, stopped in time. The spell lacks power and direction, it lacks going to the concrete. It’s two hours and twenty minutes of pure entertainment with flashes of quality, but the magic of the enchantment fails to dispel its deficiencies.
FreeGameTips has seen the film courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.