Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore review – Jude Law and Mads Mikkelsen crackle | Family films


The replacement of Johnny Depp by Mads Mikkelsen as Gellert Grindelwald (Dumbledore’s lost love, now intent on dominion over the magic world and war with the muggles) results in a marked improvement on the previous Fantastic Beasts film. In this third outing, there’s a crucial crackle of chemistry between Mikkelsen and Jude Law’s younger Dumbledore.

But despite the ornate world-building constructed from CGI, a mid-20th-century European fascist aesthetic and lots of very nicely tailored tweed, it’s still a lumbering, unwieldy creature compared to the first film: fewer fantastic beasts, more stuffy political plotting and electoral malpractice. Jessica Williams, playing the defensive magic specialist Eulalie Hicks, is a welcome addition to a cast that is underserved by significant female characters. An escape from a dungeon filled with some sort of enchanted hell-crustacean is terrific fun in a film that is otherwise not over-endowed with humour.

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