English wizard, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arries in 1920’s New York with a suitcase full of creatures and a plan to set one of the free in the wild. Of course the best laid plans never go quite as they should and an escape followed by a run in with a No-Maj/Muggle called Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) leads Newt into hot water and into the path of disgraced Auror, Tina (Katherine Waterson).
Meanwhile there is something terrorising the city, which has come to the attention of Auror Graves (Colin Farrell), who is secretly using orphan, Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) to track it.
As Newt, Katherine and Jacob attempt to keep his creatures safe and under wraps, avoid the authorities and figure out what might be behind the attacks there are growing concerns that the exposure of the wizarding world might lead to a war.
There American Wizarding World is very different to the Harry Potter one we’re used to. Wizards are not friendly with magical creatures and are pretty keen on exterminating them, apart from Newt who wants to save them all. There is a lot of fear of No-Majs and the US Ministry of Magic is not afraid of using torture.
This makes for some interesting themes including social anxiety, societal prejudice, animal conservation and the side effects of supressing your true self.
There were some really cool things about Fantastic Beasts. The effects and all the creatures are amazing. I particularly loved the Niffler, which was ridiculously cute. Redmayne is great as Newt and he and Ben Fogler have great chemistry. It’s an engaging story and I wanted to find out what happened all the way through.
On the other hand some of the side characters are a bit under developed and I really didn’t like Katherine’s sister, Queenie’s (Alison Sudol) character. She was sexy in a really overt, distracting way and seemed to be using her body and sexuality in a way that was just cringey.
It’s not on par with Harry Potter but it’s fun and a nice addition to the universe. Worth a watch.