'Fantastic Beasts 3' gets mixed reviews but critics praise Johnny Depp replacement Mads Mikklesen
The third instalment of the Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore arrives in cinemas on Friday, but has divided critics.
While many have praised the performance of Mads Mikkelsen — who has replaced Johnny Depp in the role of Gellert Grindelwald — and given the film favourable reviews, many have also called the plot confusing.
The upcoming film, which takes place several years after the events of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, will show Jude Law's Albus Dumbledore sending Newt Scamander, (Eddie Redmayne) on a mission that will lead him and his gang into the depths of dark wizard, Grindelwald's army. It lands in UK cinemas on 8 April.
The Guardian gave the film three stars, with its critic Peter Bradshaw describing the third installment as "good-natured magical entertainment" with a political statement.
Read more: Mads Mikkelsen: Trying to copy Johnny Depp would be 'creative suicide'
He said: "By invoking fascism and the approaching world war, the film is gesturing at something overwhelmingly evil, and yet by the end you might find the essentially non-committal storytelling style of franchise film-making, with its suspended resolutions, works against this
"It's good-natured entertainment, though there is still something weightless and formless about the narrative."
The Mirror's Andy Lea also praised Mikkelsen's performance as a 'less showy and more creepy' portrayal of Grindelwald.
Adding: "Thankfully, while still nowhere near as enchanting as a trip to Hogwarts, the third Fantastic Beasts film brings some movie magic back to Rowling's Wizarding World.
"Grindelwald remains a crushingly familiar villain (he's basically Voldermort with a nose), but Mikkelsen delivers a less showy and more creepy villain to Depp's."
Watch a trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore
Meanwhile, The Evening Standard's Charlotte O'Sullivan awarded the film four stars and echoed the sentiment that Mikklesen was a 'welcome replacement' for Depp.
Robbie Collin of The Telegraph was not left under the spell. He noted: "Doses of Potter nostalgia are methodically positioned along the route like bolts on a climbing wall, to give the otherwise bamboozled viewer something to cling to'
Lovia Gyarkye of The Hollywood Reporter was also not impressed. She wrote that while the film is more focused than the previous ones, it's just as disappointing.
She wrote: "Compared with the previous two films, Secrets of Dumbledore feels more like a Harry Potter film than a Fantastic Beasts one. While a few magical creatures make appearances — one is even central to Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s plans — they are by no means the anchor.
"This installment revolves around Dumbledore, a more interesting character than the series’ purported hero, Newt.
That shift focuses the film’s narrative, but it doesn’t do much for those of us trying to figure out the purpose of the series."
Stephanie Bunbury of Deadline also said the plot was confusing.
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"Quite a few of these plot threads hang loose, making no sense," she wrote. "There was an entire chase sequence where I had no idea who was doing the chasing. That didn’t make sense either. But never mind. It’s the Wizarding World. It’s fun to be there, along with the lovely beasts. The fans love it. And perhaps that’s enough."
While Siddhant Adlakha of IGN said: "It looks drab and feels like it was made by people who want to leave its magical premise behind."
Despite the critics not all being in agreement, fans of the franchise remain a buzz on social media and are still expected to turn out in their droves when it appears in theatres next week.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will be released in the UK on 8 April.
Watch: Mads Mikklesen, who replaced Johnny Depp, talks about his role in Fantastic Beasts 3