By: Natalie Lorenzo, Editorial Staff (‘23)

Spoilers ahead! 

This movie was different from the past two Fantastic Beasts Movies and the eight Harry Potter films. It starts much darker than expected, and the first scene sets a shocking tone for the rest of the film. Another diverse aspect of this movie is the fact that the story is much more focused on Dumbledore and Grindelwald than the previous films, which were more concentrated on Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob. Tina has very little role in the movie, only appearing as more of a cameo than a main character. 

This third Fantastic Beast movie had very low revenue in the first few weeks of production because this movie comes at a very controversial time in the film world. With the forced resignation of Grindwald’s original actor Johnny Depp due to his ongoing legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, many fans decided to boycott the new movie as they disagreed with Warner Bros’ decision and feel that they judged Depp prematurely. Depp was replaced with British actor Mads Mikkelsen who plays the role of Grindelwald very differently than Depp did. While when Depp played Grindelwald, he appeared much more deceptive and manipulative, the new Grindelwald gives a much darker performance, often turning to violence in key moments and making much rasher decisions. While some may see this inconsistency as based solely on the change in actor, the change actually plays into the movie quite well as key character development in Grindelwald’s personality.  For those deciding if they should see this movie with the change in actor and the long wait since the last film, I would recommend seeing it. I think it felt much simpler than the others in the trilogy and was a very good movie. While I do feel that it is worth watching, going into the movie expecting a Harry Potter level film can result in disappointment as there is much less exciting than in past films and gives a very different feeling than other films by David Yates and J.K. Rowling. It’s important to note the development of the characters, not just in this movie but also from the initial film. I think that there is obvious development from Newt’s character (who goes from trusting no one to giving Bunty his suitcase) to Jacob (who was a carefree nonmagic person and is now concerned with a wizarding war) and especially in Grindelwald. I think that the change in actors from Depp to Mikkelsen came at a very opportune time as the character was changing with the actors. In the first film that truly focused on Grindelwald’s character, The Crimes of Grindelwald, Grindlewald (played by Depp) was very manipulative and coerced many people onto his side. Now in this film, he is gaining more power and support and starts developing more violent tendencies. This may just be a difference in how the actors portrayed the villain, but it worked well with the story to develop the character even more. I found that the ending of this movie was very disappointing as the results did not yield what many people expected. Many reviews of Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore have also commented on the ending. In one of the movie’s final scenes, viewers watch the Qilin, a creature that has the ability to see into a person’s soul to see if they are pure of heart, choices Dumbledore over Grindelwald as the purest in the crowd. This part bothers many Harry Potter fans as the later books and films in the series revealed that Dumbledore, especially when he was younger, was not completely pure of heart and had struggled with a thirst for power. This was a very inconsistent idea as many expected the Qilin to bow/select either Newt or Jacob at the time. Overall, I do believe that this movie was very well written and is a major improvement from the past Fantastic Beast films.