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Film / Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

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"They say if you listen carefully enough, the past whispers to you."
"The world as we know it is coming undone. Gellert's pulling it apart with hate, bigotry. Things that seem unimaginable today will seem inevitable tomorrow... if we don't stop him. Should you agree to do what I ask, you'll have to trust me. Even when every instinct tells you not to."
Albus Dumbledore

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the third film in the Fantastic Beasts series after Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and the eleventh film overall in J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World. It is directed once again by David Yates. Rowling returned to write the screenplay along with Harry Potter veteran screenwriter Steve Kloves.

Set in 1932, the story leads up to the Wizarding World's involvement in World War II. Albus Dumbledore entrusts Newt Scamander and his friends on a mission to foil Grindelwald's attempt to get elected as the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards while Dumbledore himself ponders how long he will stay on the sidelines in the approaching war.

Returning cast members include Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Callum Turner, and Poppy Corby-Tuech, among others. Newcomers include Mads Mikkelsen (replacing Johnny Depp as Grindelwald), Oliver Masucci, Richard Coyle, and Valerie Pachner. The film was released on April 8, 2022 in the UK and Japan, with the US and worldwide release following a week later.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore contains examples of:

  • Actor Swap: Mads Mikkelsen takes over the role of Gellert Grindelwald from Johnny Depp in this instalment due to Depp's loss in a domestic violence related defamation lawsuit in the UK.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Is the beginning scene in the restaurant happening in real time, a dream, a memory, or is it happening in the blood pact mirror dimension? The film doesn't make it exactly clear.
  • And Starring: The end credits have "and Mads Mikkelsen" for his role as Gellert Grindelwald.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Grindelwald screams, “Who will love you now, Dumbledore?” at Albus as the blood troth breaks.
  • Arc Symbol: Grindelwald's sigil, the Deathly Hallows symbol combined with a pair of G's recurs throughout the film. It can be seen in the form of fireworks launched by his supporters, the courtyard of Nuremgard, and even on a hood ornament of a car.
  • Assassination Attempt: Grindelwald's followers attempt to assassinate Santos via poisoning at the dinner party in Berlin but Lalie is able to foil it.
  • Asshole Victim: Though not shown on screen, the Erkstag warden's Oh, Crap! face in his final scene means he's about to get skewered by the manticore, and seeing how much he enjoyed that happening to the prisoners he was supposed to be watching, it feels like a Karmic Death.
  • As You Know: Lalie recaps the last two films for Jacob, presumably for the audience's benefit. Albus also reminisces about Ariana's favorite food in front of Aberforth. Both of these get a terse, 'I know, I was there' reaction.
  • The Bartender: Aberforth already owns the Hog's Head at this point.
  • Batman Gambit: This time, it's Dumbledore's turn to do this after Grindelwald managed to achieve it so effectively in the second film. He asks Newt and his friends to split up and carry out different roles at the same time, expecting that Grindelwald wouldn't be able to see all of them at once. The first gambit worked off pretty well despite hiccups as all that Grindelwald achieved was capturing Theseus and then having to alter his plans to instead frame Jacob to make it look convincing. His last gambit was what truly lets the heroes secure a true win over Grindelwald: Knowing and expecting Grindelwald would be after him, Newt, Theseus, and Eulalie because they were magically powerful enough to guard the Qilin, he instead gives that role to Bunty, exploiting Grindelwald's tendency to underestimate simple people, and it works wonders as she easily bypasses him, reveals the Qilin, and exposes Grindelwald, effectively eliminating any chances he had to become Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards and making it clear to the public that beneath Grindelwald's façade, he is dangerous, leaving him with only his truly loyal disciples as everyone else who previously admired him clearly either turns their back on him or outright attacks him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Like fellow midpoint entry, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, this film essentially wraps up the first arc of the series with some positives and some negatives. Grindelwald's plan to become the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards has been stopped, Dumbledore has broken the blood pact between them, meaning they can now fight each other, and Jacob and Queenie have finally gotten married while Newt reunites with Tina. But while Credence redeems himself, it is seemingly too late for him as his Obscurus has already begun killing him, and all that Aberforth, actually Credence's father, can do is bring him home and give him some comfort, knowing fully well he'll die sooner or later. In addition, even with Grindelwald thwarted, he is still out there and he has also in a way succeeded in starting his war, meaning the global Wizarding War will truly begin soon. While the heroes are given a brief respite and moment of happiness, it's apparent the road ahead will be filled with many difficulties even after this victory - Dumbledore's grim expression as he walks away from Jacob's wedding, and the fact that we know the legendary duel between them that will lead Grindelwald to defeat will only take place on 2 November 1945, 13 years from the film's end, makes this very clear.
  • Blatant Lies: After Newt produces his own Qilin at the vote, Grindelwald's allies attempt to claim that the one that bowed to Grindelwald was the true Qilin even though it's clearly a darker, more sickly colour than Newt's obviously healthy one. It then disanimates on the spot, just to rub in that Grindelwald's been outplayed.
  • Blood Magic: The first time we see Grindelwald look into the future, he does so using the blood of an innocent baby Qillin whose throat he just slit. In the Qilin's blood, he sees Dumbledore and all the ones he chose to help him in the coming days, alerting Grindelwald on how to proceed against his ex-lover.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Grindelwald unambiguously slashes the throat of the baby Qilin with a knife but it was cleverly shot to hide the wound and any bleeding. He has her tucked into his chest and the cutting is shown from behind and it cuts away to Queenie looking on in horror as she bleeds out. By the time it cuts back to him, she's already dead and the blood is pooled on the ground.
  • Bowdlerise: Some dialogue was left out/dubbed differently in countries where it could have potentially gotten the film banned. WB confirmed that it was only two lines, "Because I was in love with you" and "the summer Gellert and I fell in love". The “regular haunts” comment was also translated differently in some places to take out the innuendo.
  • Call-Back: As Newt is cornered by two cronies of Grindelwald, Jacob distracts and knocks them unconscious with one swing of his briefcase. Ironic, considering he did that to Newt in the first Fantastic Beasts movie.
  • Call-Forward:
  • Came Back Wrong: Grindelwald actually seems capable of returning the qilin to a life, or something imitating it. The ritual itself is dark and disturbing and the qilin seems weak, confused, and ill in the time after it. Whether it is undead or truly alive is never made clear, but it certainly did not return to our world as it once was.
  • Central Theme:
    • Love. While one could argue that this is the main theme of the Wizarding World at large, this installment really hammers it home. Love between romantic partners, siblings, friends, and parents and children all play a significant role in the film. Dumbledore and Grindelwald both are still madly in love with each other and over the course of the movie get driven apart for the final time over their political disagreements and Grindelwald's cruelty. Dumbledore's relationship with his siblings and regrets over not being there for them in the way he should have (he tells Newt that if he'd been a better brother Aberforth might have confided in him about lingering doubts that Credence survived) is a clear source of anguish but he does really try to patch things up with Aberforth and they stick together in the end. Newt goes through hell to get Theseus out of the German prison and the two have clearly grown closer since the second film. Yusuf's motivated by his regret over not having been able to get to know Leta, his only family member. Ultimately Aberforth's love for Credence is the thing that sets him on the right path, although it's too late to save him.
    • Loneliness: The movie's central conflict, as noted by David Heyman, is between two men who are constantly surrounded by people but at the same time deeply lonely. Two men who could only find companionship in one another but were driven apart long ago by tragedy and still carry the scars. Their loneliness also presents itself differently. Albus's loneliness presents itself as shutting himself off and keeping it inside, such as not really letting anyone other than Aberforth and later on Newt in and keeping everyone else at a distance. Grindelwald's loneliness presents itself as lashing out. He thought the meeting at the restaurant was supposed to be friendly, he was absolutely ecstatic to see him after thirty years, judging by the way he flirts and beams (which is the only time he's ever truly smiled in the series). He takes the offer to break the troth personally, gets offended, and storms out. He also does things such as get out of the car to try to feel something outside the banquet. By the end, he's screaming and almost crying when he realizes he's really been dumped for good. While his "statement", "Who will love you now, Dumbledore? You're all alone!" can be interpreted in any number of ways, two popular takes are that he's saying, "We're both stuck like this because of you" and/or that it's meant to be taunting. Whatever way you view it, it's certainly done from a place of lashing out after getting dumped. Credence also mentions having been lonely his whole life. Newt via his Character Development has gotten to a place where he's more open to people but this time it's Theseus's turn to be lonely due to Leta's death.
  • Character Title: As the title suggests, the film revolves around the Dumbledore family and their complicated background. While it can refer to the family as a whole, the specific person with the secret is Aberforth.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Each candidate in the ICW election's supporters are associated with a different color. Grindelwald's wear a dark green (although that has been the Acolytes' associated color since the second film), Santos's a mustard yellow, and Liu's a crimson red.
  • Condensation Clue: Writing appears to Credence and Aberforth on mirrors throughout the movie from a mysterious third-party talking about "home" and "forgiveness". Well, the messages are written by Credence and send to Aberforth, cause he's trying to connect to his dad.
  • Confusion Fu: The plan to stop Grindelwald relies on keeping everyone in the dark about the entire plan, so Grindelwald can't foresee and counter it. The gang gets sent to Berlin for two reasons: to stop Grindelwald from getting on the ballot (which they fail at) and to stop the assassination attempt against Santos (which is a success).
  • Continuity Nod: There are several regarding the duplicate suitcases.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Kaleidoscopes of magical items and silhouetted creatures appear over the credits, with bursts of magic in a blue-grey cloudy background.
  • Crowd Surfing: A crowd acclaims Grindelwald and lifts him on the way into the candidate's dinner in Berlin.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: What the manticore does to you: First it impales you with its scorpion tail, then you're Eaten Alive, and the remnants of your corpse thrown back up and eaten by the baby manticores.
  • Cryptic Conversation: After an uncomfortable dinner where Albus tries to make conversation about Ariana's favorite food, Aberforth says he knew, "everything" that was going on in the house with the clear implication he's talking about his relationship with Grindelwald.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: In the German prison, Newt first runs into a few tiny little lobster-like beasts that dance adorably. Not long after, he sees a giant scorpion tail arise from a pit and impale a man next to him before tossing his corpse for the little lobster to feed upon. Its only when Theseus steps on one of the lobsters that we get a good look at the tailed beast: it is a massive, mother lobster beast with a vengeful streak.
  • Curse Escape Clause: According to Dumbledore, there is no known way to destroy the blood pact that he and Grindelwald created as young men, as even the thought of either of them attacking the other would cause the pact to try and kill the one holding it. It is eventually destroyed when Grindelwald and Dumbledore's spells collided when Grindelwald tried to kill Credence and Dumbledore acted to protect his nephew; neither of them directly acted against each other, but the collision of their spells was enough to break the pact.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The film expands on Aberforth's youth beyond what we knew already. He fell in love with a local girl from Godric's Hollow at the time Grindelwald showed up and the relationship resulted in a pregnancy. His girlfriend was sent away by her family to hide it but rumors persisted that there was indeed a baby. Said baby was then believed to have drowned in the shipwreck so no one knew to look for him. Albus tells Newt that if he'd been a better brother to Aberforth, he would have probably confided in him any lingering doubts that he may have survived and things could have been different.
  • Deus Exit Machina:
    • Dumbledore cannot actively help either Newt or Eulalie and Jacob because he has to deal with Credence. Later on, he goes first to Bhutan to meet up with Aberforth. Considering his previous record and displays, if he was present, there would have been a lot less tension during the scuffle the other heroes get into as he could have easily wiped the floor with the German Aurors.
    • Newt's suitcase is not available because Bunty has to duplicate it. His creatures would have similar to Dumbledore's presence made things much less challenging and story wise it plays a huge role.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In a mild example, it turns out that Credence's mother was sent off by her family due to being pregnant with him out of wedlock, explaining why his father wasn't aware of him, at least with any certainty (and then he was believed to have drowned). This was indeed a common response to such a situation at the time.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Grindelwald rigged the election and had his followers intercept anyone who might expose his ruse. All the while, Bunty is able to pass by completely unnoticed in a simple disguise because Grindelwald didn't think of her as a threat.
  • Double Agent: Kama tells Grindelwald that he was sent to spy on him for Dumbledore, but that he wants to return the favor and spy on Dumbledore for Grindelwald. Even with a mind reader reassuring him, Grindelwald is wisely untrusting and only agrees to allow Kama into his fold after meddling with his memory.
  • Double Entendre: Grindelwald manages to sneak a couple of these into his conversation with Dumbledore at the restaurant. Most notably, he opens (with a flirty smile) by asking if the place they're meeting is one of his "regular haunts" with the clear implication that he's really asking about his love life. Dumbledore laughs and responds that he doesn't have any regular haunts and Grindelwald smiles and straightens up his posture. The way he asks about how the blood pact pendant feels around his neck is also pretty clearly meant to be sexual in nature as well.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Newt has to rescue Theseus from jail without any of his beasts or his wands, so he can't just rely on spells, his many powerful beasts, or his ability to teleport to safely save them.
  • Evil Is Petty: Grindelwald hits Jacob with the Cruciatus Curse to make a point to the assembled masses when he thinks he's won. Dumbledore even apologizes to Jacob for having to go through it, genuinely surprised by such a pointless act of cruelty.
  • Flying Broomstick: As Newt and Theseus arrive outside the Black Lake via Portkey after escaping the Manticore, a Quidditch game between Slytherin and Gryffindor can be seen in the background.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Even though Grindelwald's plan has been thwarted and Albus is now free to fight him, since the duel leading to Grindelwald's defeat won't occur for another 13 years, it is obvious he'll remain at large by the end of the film.
  • Hellhole Prison: Erkstag, the magical prison in Berlin, is horrific, with inmates tied up and hanging upside down, with the possibility of being eaten by the temperamental manticore at the bottom of the prison.
  • History Repeats: In the final confrontation, Grindelwald, Albus and Aberforth's spells clash with a third, Obscurial Dumbledore caught in the middle, just like the circumstances under which Ariana died. However, this time the clashing spells save the life of Credence (Aberforth's son and Albus's nephew), as well as there now being no doubt that Grindelwald alone acted to kill where the others sought to defend.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: An alternative title for the movie might as well as be Fantastic Beasts: The Failures of Grindelwald. Literately everything he does here ends up setting the stage for his defeat many years later. First, he zombifies a Qilin rather than using a more practical method like the Imperius Curse in his impatience and anger at being deemed unworthy. Then he gets angry at Credence and sheds his charming persona because he was upset that Credence failed to kill Dumbledore and didn't find the second Qilin, and he attacks Jacob with the Cruciatus Curse in front of Queenie after believing he's won. All this ends up being a severe misjudgment as he fatally underestimated Dumbledore's own intelligence and charisma, Newt's bravery, and Queenie's love for Jacob. All of this accumulated turns Credence and Queenie, who then saw him as the dark man he truly was, against him for real and they help Newt expose his charade. Finally, he attacks Credence after his plans fall to ruin, but that makes the blood pact break and Albus finally turns his back completely on him with the realization he is too far gone. All this combined effectively seals his fate as he is completely exposed as a truly dangerous dark wizard unworthy to be Supreme Mugwump, causing everyone there to immediately attack him after Dumbledore leaves him to his fate, crushing any and all chance he had to unite the world and forcing him to declare a war with the whole world. It's heavily indicated at least some, if not a decent amount, of his disciples turned against him, meaning he's lost both the good publicity that was so crucial in his successes and a degree of the massive military power he had, not to mention he's likely lost Anton Vogel, meaning any backway and influence he may have had in the ICW is gone now. All this allows Dumbledore and the world to finally and rightfully turn the wizarding world against him, which will eventually lead to them gaining the support needed to defeat him for good.
  • Hope Spot: Newt and Theseus breathe a sigh of relief as the tunnel connecting them to the Manticore collapses, seeming to end the action scene. Only for its tail to curl up around Theseus and drag him down a tunnel they failed to notice, while the action music picks up again.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The opening scene at the restaurant between Dumbledore and Grindelwald is bar-none-the most sexually charged scene in the entire franchise. The first thing out of Grindelwald’s mouth is an innuendo laden pick-up line, to which Dumbledore laughs and flirts back. The second thing out of Grindelwald's mouth is an equally less subtle question about how the blood pact feels around Dumbledore’s neck because he himself misses it. They continue flirting only until Dumbledore mentions they could be freed of the pact and Grindelwald can't help himself from saying nasty things about the Muggle restaurant they're meeting in. There is even an alternative cut of the conversation where Grindelwald lent down and whispered something in his ear and then kissed his neck on his way out.
  • Humiliation Conga: It's Grindelwald's turn to lose after managing to so effectively manipulate the events of the first two movies to his favor. He loses hard, too. He manages to lose the election, have two powerful Acolytes defect, get exposed for his true colors, lose his former lover forever, and be forced into hiding in one fell swoop. Albus pretty masterfully manages to use Confusion Fu to negate his seeing with the only hiccup being Theseus getting arrested. Grindelwald gets Vogel to pardon him of his crimes, get him on the ballot, and help him use the zombified Qilin to bow to him. Meanwhile, Bunty manages to slip by his group of supporters in Bhutan with the suitcase with the second Qilin because he mistakenly thought the more powerful Scamander brothers or Eulalie would have been given it. Queenie, whom he worked so hard to recruit, also defects before the election takes place. After a short respite of him winning the initial vote for Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, Newt and Credence expose his fraudulent Qilin and Bunty walks up with the suitcase as the zombified one disanimates in Vogel's arms. A new vote is called. The Qilin first bows to Albus who turns her down and then to Santos, whom the crowd elects the new ICW Supreme Mugwump. At that point, Grindelwald completely loses it. He tries to kill Credence in front of everyone and the blood pact gets destroyed in the crossing of spells. As he and Albus fight to a draw in the mirror dimension, he desperately reaches for him as they part and Albus turns his back on him which signifies the breaking of their bond, both literally and metaphorically. With real pain in his voice, all he can do is lash out at him with, "Who will love you now, Dumbledore?" As everyone starts pointing their wands at him, all he can do (while being a visible wreck of emotions) is jump off the cliff and Apparate away. A far cry from the cocky, flirtatious, and smug demeanor seen at the beginning of the movie in the restaurant scene.
  • Internal Reveal: Albus tells Newt the story about what happened to Ariana (but not in as much detail as Aberforth does in Deathly Hallows) which has been known to the audience for a long time.
  • Just Toying with Them: Credence's fight with Dumbledore takes place entirely in an illusion Dumbledore traps him in as the opening move, and Dumbledore makes it clear even that was humoring Credence so he could blow off steam.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Grindelwald's forces led by Credence kill a weak Qilin seconds after she gives birth to her child, immediately orphaning it.
    • The first thing we see Grindelwald do after his date with Dumbledore is slit the baby Qilin's throat. This was necessary for an enchantment he performs later in the film, but at the time, all the audience knows is that it proves Grindelwald is still one bad guy.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Grindelwald takes out Kama's memory of Leta, and then dissipates it.
  • Left the Background Music On: When Grindelwald and his cohorts arrive at a Ministry party, the background music comes to a halt to highlight the quiet tension of the scene. Grindelwald then looks to his side and camera pans over to a small band lead by a house elf, who comes to his senses and starts conducting the band again as the soundtrack continues.
  • Leitmotif: A lot of the motifs from the previous movies return, like "Hedwig's Theme" which plays when Hogwarts appears and "Jacob's Bakery" is incorporated when Jacob is first seen in his bakery and a couple of other times during scenes centered around Mr. Kowalski.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Dumbledore and Grindelwald are still crazy for each other after all these years, and each spend most of the restaurant scene trying to get the other to back down and reconcile to no avail. By the end of the movie, Dumbledore realizes that things are done between them for good, though it pains him, and literally and metaphorically he turns his back on Grindelwald after the election is held.
  • Master of Illusion: Dumbledore showcases perhaps the most impressive bit of magical deception yet seen in the franchise during his battle with Credence. The entire town they're fighting in is an illusion created to hide the fact they're fighting inside a mirror, keeping Dumbledore from having to worry about saving the lives of bystanders.
  • Match Cut: The fight scene with the giant lobster-like manticore is cut off as the film cuts away to a fancy dinner, or more specifically, a lobster on a platter at said dinner.
  • Meaningful Echo: The movie starts with a fairly bashful but emotional, "Because I was in love with you" from Albus to a very stoic Grindelwald and ends with a very distraught Grindelwald almost screaming, "Who will love you now?" at a very stoic Albus.
  • Mercy Kill: Newt suggests in an attempt at comfort that Ariana's death in the fight was one of these in a way. She died quickly and painlessly instead of in a long, drawn out painful and agonizing death at the hands of the parasite.
  • Metaphorically True: In the last film, Grindelwald revealed that Credence was a Dumbledore, claiming that he was Albus's younger brother who had been knowingly rejected by the family; as it turns out, Credence is actually the son of Albus's brother Aberforth, and his mother was sent away by her family to have the baby in secret before Aberforth knew of the pregnancy, although he later heard rumors.
  • Mindlink Mates: The blood pact forged by the love between Dumbledore and Grindelwald allows the two to talk to each other telepathically in an imaginary world where reality bends to their whims. The movie opens with them eating at a nice restaurant together in this place, at least until Grindelwald wills the place to burn down. The final battle of the movie takes place here too, as the world is falling apart alongside their pact.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • This shot of Grindelwald's wanted poster hanging up in Hogsmeade is reminiscent of Sirius Black's from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
    • The scene where Newt's group arrives at the train station but before they disembark combines this with Bilingual Bonus. An exit signpost pointing towards Friedrichstraße and Georgenstraße can be seen through the compartment window, and while the intersection is real, it's a meta-nod to Fred and George Weasley, who won't be born until several years later.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Grindelwald loathes Muggles, wants war against them and believes his own kind (the magical people) are naturally superior. He even disparages Muggles as "animals". Further, he nearly takes power in the same year as Hitler, with similar ruthless methods.
  • Necromancy: Grindelwald zombifies a Qilin and enchants it to do his bidding in his plot to commit election fraud.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer shows Jacob getting a wand, implying he'll start doing magic, but in the movie it's just a fake wand to help blend in with wizards. It's unclear whether it has been enchanted to perform a single spell, or the whole thing was faked directly by Lalie (given that it has no magical core, it's most likely the latter case), but Jacob has no control over that feature either way.
  • No Animals Allowed: Newt is forbidden from bringing his beasts along with him when visiting a German prison. Since he also has to drop off his wand, he has little besides his wits to help him bust out his brother from then on.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: The Wizarding World's different social mores are on full display here. They don't seem to hold the social taboo that Muggle society had at the time over homosexuality and focus more on things like blood purity. While Theseus certainly judges Albus when he tells of essentially marrying Grindelwald as a teenager, it's clear that it's more about the man he decided to do this with (the man who killed his own fiancée) instead of the fact that he was a man. Aberforth makes a thinly veiled comment about their relationship too that implies that he feels the same way. Newt, however, doesn't judge at all. However, it's unclear how exactly Jacob, the token Muggle friend, feels about it or if he knows the full extent of their relationship because he's not directly told like the Scamander brothers and wasn't around for it like Aberforth was.
  • Overcrank: The film makes liberal use of slow-motion:
    • Jacob and Eulalie's escape from the dark wizards is slowed down as the bridge of papers the two are running on begins to burst into flame and debris goes flying around. When the two teleport away, the movie kicks back into normal motion as the papers all collide together into a fiery burst and the debris all hits the floor.
    • Played for Laughs with Teddy the Niffler's dive at the falling Picket. It seems the Niffler is going to catch his falling friend, but instead, he's jumping at the shiny coins that fell with Picket and the two land harmlessly on the ground as the normal frame-rate resumes.
    • In a mix of drama and farce, Theseus is about to be dragged into a lethal fall when Newt's Niffler jumps after him with Dumbledore's tie in hand. The movie slows down as Theseus reaches for the tie mid-fall and grabs it for dear life. Turns out it was a portkey, as Theseus, Newt, and the Niffler are whisked off to Hogwarts in an instant.
  • Papa Wolf: Aberforth in the climax, along with Albus to save Credence.
  • Paper Master: Eulalie throws a book and pages come out to become a solid platform for Jacob to walk across. She also uses books as a Portkey on two occasions, causing paper to swarm around the travelers before they teleport.
  • Phantom Zone:
    • Dumbledore sends a drop of what appears to be pensieve water at Credence to transport him unknowingly to a mirror version of Berlin, where they duel before emerging out of a puddle at the end.
    • Due to the blood pact breaking, Dumbledore and Grindelwald seem to get transported to some kind of pocket dimension where they can duel with nobody else around.
  • Portal Book: Eulalie uses a book Portkey to take herself and Jacob to Newt and co.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Theseus notes that the team entrusted to take down the most dangerous wizard in four centuries include himself, a wizard descended from a very old French family (Yusuf), a Magizoologist (Newt), his indispensable assistant (Bunty), a schoolteacher (Eulalie), and a Muggle baker (Jacob).
  • Raising the Steaks: Grindelwald zombifies a Qilin in his bid to commit election fraud. During the election, the Qilin will bow to whoever has a pure heart to help sway voters. His zombified one bows to him but Newt and Credence expose it as a fraud and a new vote is held when Bunty produces the living Qilin.
  • Refusal of the Call: Jacob has repeatedly been refusing Dumbledore's pleas to join him in fighting Grindelwald and it is only when Eulalie shows Jacob his own worth that he agrees. Even then, it took a lot of arm-twisting to get him to come along.
  • The Reveal:
    • This film definitively answers the "Who is Credence?" question. The cliffhanger from the second film is revealed to have been a half-truth. He is not Albus's brother but rather his nephew. Aberforth started dating a girl from Godric's Hollow the summer Albus did the same with Grindelwald. She got pregnant and was sent away by her family to cover it up before he knew. However rumors persisted that she'd had a baby who was then believed to have drowned in the shipwreck. Albus tells Newt that Aberforth probably didn't trust him enough to confide in him any lingering doubts so they could have figured out what happened.
    • Ariana is confirmed to have been an Obscurial.
  • Secret Room: The Room of Requirement makes its return to the franchise as the place where the gang meets up to go via Portkey to Bhutan for the election.
  • Secret Test of Character: Eulalie gets her cousin and some of his friends to pretend to be hooligans menacing her in front of Jacob's store. Despite there being three of them, Jacob stands up to them and proves his bravery. The test here is not so much to prove Jacob's worth to Eulalie, but to prove to Jacob himself that he is exceptionally brave.
  • Seers: We see many of Grindelwald's visions of the future throughout the film. Every time he looks in a reflection, whether it be from a car window or the blood of a slaughtered magical beast, he sees brief flashes of the near future of Newt and friends, allowing him to piece together the actions his enemies will take.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Locations in the film include returning ones like the UK and New York as well as new ones like Germany, Bhutan, and China.
  • Sequel Hook: While Grindelwald's plan to take control of the ICW is foiled and Dumbledore's obligation to the blood oath to him is forfeited—meaning the two can now fight each other, Grindelwald still escapes and intends to find another means to force the Wizarding World to bow to his whim—which will continue for years until Dumbledore finally beats him, rids him of the Elder Wand and Grindelwald is sent to Nurmengard for what will be the rest of his life.
  • Shell Game: This and three-card monte are the comparison Jacob uses to understand Dumbledore's last plan: give each of the team a duplicate of Newt's suitcase to keep Grindelwald from focusing all his forces on the real one.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Tina Goldstein is conspicuously absent from the first two trailers, but ultimately appears in the final scene as the bridesmaid for her sister's wedding to Jacob.
  • Ship Sinking: The breaking of the blood troth is both a symbolic and literal breaking up of Dumbledore and Grindelwald's relationship. Regardless of how they may still feel about each other, things have reached a tipping point and they can't go back.
  • Slashed Throat: Grindelwald slits the throat of the Qilin his followers found while a horrified Queenie watches.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Dumbledore and Grindelwald can't be together ever again, because of the latter's campaign for war against the Muggles. Now, they are destined to fight each other.
  • Strong and Skilled: This is the reason why Albus is able to quite handily overpower and subdue Credence. Credence has spent years training himself for his inevitable fight with Albus, but it becomes quickly evident that while his skills have definitely improved after training with Grindelwald, he still clearly prefers and uses a fighting style based on the overwhelming power of his Obscurus, his techniques still lacking in finesse. Meanwhile, Albus has not only the extraordinary magical strength to fight Credence on equal ground, which is something Credence is clearly unused to fighting against, but he also has decades of experience and training to supplement that power. Credence's anger is the only thing that lets him put up as much of a fight as he does, and Albus makes it clear at the end he was just humoring Credence so he could let off some steam from his pent-up anger. It takes Grindelwald, a much more seasoned wizard with roughly equivalent levels of power, in order to match Albus in the end.
  • Tagline: "Return to the magic."
  • Teen Pregnancy: Aberforth got his girlfriend pregnant when he was sixteen but she was sent away to hide it before anyone knew. The baby grew up to be Credence whom everyone thought had drowned as a baby in the shipwreck.
  • Teleport Spam: Dumbledore does little else in his fight with Credence besides block and Apparate away from him. After using this mostly to escape Credence, he ends the fight by approaching him inch by inch through rapid teleportation until he's right at Credence's throat without a scratch on him.
  • Thicker Than Water: The defining trait of the brothers Dumbledore, despite everything they went through they stick together regardless, and ultimately saving Credence from Grindelwald in the climax together.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: Bunty is the only of Newt's motley crew given written instructions on what to do by Dumbledore, but as soon as she finishes reading it, the page burns into nothing and she doesn't tell anyone her role. Even her beloved Newt is left in the dark.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Richard Coyle makes his debut as the middle-aged version of Aberforth Dumbledore in this installment.
  • Token Human: Jacob is the Muggle on the team that's entrusted to stop Grindelwald's election to the head of the ICW. He even gets a wand and to go to Hogwarts. Lalie meets him in his bakery and recruits him to the cause, even though he says he's left it all behind him.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Sometime between the last film and this one, Queenie realized what Grindelwald's true colors are and would like nothing more than to abandon his group. Unfortunately, his group's tendency to kill anyone who gets cold feet forces her to stay put.
  • Uncertain Doom: Whether or not Credence survives the film is ambiguous. It is acknowledged that nothing can be done at this point to save him since he's been living with the parasite for about 30 years which is over twice as long as his aunt Ariana (who's the only other confirmed Obscurial who made it past 10) and that all that can be done is to make his inevitable death as painless as possible. Aberforth takes him home to die but no confirmation is given that it's actually happened yet.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Downplayed. Credence has become much better at using his powers, displaying a reasonably expanded plethora of techniques, but his fight with Albus makes it clear he is still far from having achieved complete mastery, as all his attacks primarily rely on his overwhelming power, which Albus is able to counter by matching it with his own immense magical power supplemented by his skill to ultimately swiftly dispatch Credence.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: At the end of the film, Grindelwald jumps off a cliff and disapparates away.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A Tranquil Fury wordless one. Upon being exposed for election fraud, Grindelwald immediately attempts to murder Credence in front of the entire assembly, without changing his facial expression or even verbalizing his Killing Curse. He is close to tears by the time the blood pact breaks, signifying that his and Dumbledore’s relationship really is over for good.
  • Visual Pun: Theseus casts a spell on an attacker, flinging him at a wall, and he passes through the surface of the bricks, becoming trapped inside — Theseus "threw him into the wall!"
  • Wardens Are Evil: The warden in the Erkstag prison definitely fits the bill, as he seems to enjoy seeing people enter the prison and never come back out.
  • The Worf Effect: Dumbledore and Grindelwald's fight is this. Against Grindelwald while both are in their prime, their battle is a stalemate and rather than overwhelming Grindelwald, Dumbledore instead actually only matches with him here: Leaving aside their battle eventually devolving into a close-range duel, Dumbledore clearly actively struggles as Grindelwald is able to block his spells casually and his retaliations had to be taken seriously, a far cry from the Curb Stomp Cushion he in his 100s subjected Voldemort to as he makes it clear he is hardly taking the younger man seriously and Voldemort had to conjure a special shield to block a single spell from Dumbledore while Grindelwald straight away powers through it. Likewise, when they engaged in a contest of raw power, Grindelwald was able to nearly win and Albus clearly struggles to push back while Voldemort was trapped by Dumbledore entirely at the end of their fight. This is particularly significant because previously Credence was easily beaten and Dumbledore in his older days was more than a match for Voldemort, who was forced to retreat after facing him in battle and never tried again. The fact that Grindelwald is able to achieve what no one else ever did, match Dumbledore to a stalemate, even if the fight wasn't as elaborate and arcane as it was brief, firmly establishes Grindelwald as being the superior dark wizard to Voldemort and a true Worthy Opponent to Dumbledore, clarifying that they are indeed very nearly equals, which makes sense as the film is meant as the start of the conflict between them that will lead to the legendary duel between them, which firmly establishes Dumbledore as the greatest wizard alive by narrowly defeating his rival.
  • Wizard Duel:
    • Albus Dumbledore, greatest wizard of his century, battles Credence, the world's first adult Obscurial groomed by Gellert Grindelwald for the sole purpose of killing Albus, with both of them showing unprecedented magical skills. Credence's magic is purely destructive, tearing apart buildings, city streets, and occupied street bus in seconds at a time while Dumbledore shows off lightning fast reflexes, impenetrable defenses, dazzling illusions, and the ability to trap his opponent inside a world of reflections without them knowing.
    • Of course, the movie ends with a spectacular duel between our main villain, Gellert Grindelwald, and one of the film's many protagonists. Dumbledore actually gets a crack at Grindelwald a decade early, having a Battle in the Center of the Mind as the love pact which kept them from fighting is destroyed. The duel is rather underwhelming as it's just the beginning, but as they are nearly equals, the fight is much more well-matched than Albus's fight with Credence. Both display quite flashy spells such as a jet of red energy, the Killing Curse, blue whips, and orange blasts. The lightning fast reflexes and superb defenses Albus uses is also mixed with offensive as Grindelwald has to be taken seriously, and Grindelwald makes it clear he is quite able to match Albus in speed and defense as well.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Rowling's long-established issues with numbers strike again with the timeline of Credence's birth. This film establishes that he would have been born sometime in the spring of 1900 and the shipwreck where he was presumed to have drowned was said in Crimes of Grindelwald's script as having taken place in 1901. Credence should have been a toddler in this trip but is shown as a newborn who's not even old enough to hold his head up.

"Where once was before, there will now be after. Funny how historic days seem so ordinary when you're living them."


Video Example(s):


Who Wouldn't Like Our Chances?

In "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore," Theseus Scamander comments drily on the team that Dumbledore has assembled to take down the insanely powerful dark wizard Grindelwald, noting that it contains among others a magizoologist and a muggle baker with a fake wand. "Who wouldn't like our chances?" he quips.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / RagtagBunchOfMisfits

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