This contains spoilers so if you haven't seen I'd suggest to stop reading here.
Set in 1926, long before the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts follows a young wizard & magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), from England as he arrives in New York carrying a suitcase. As the story unfolds we find out some of the mysterious creatures he has collected in his travels and stored in the suitcase which is of course magical and bigger on the inside lol and is the equivalent of a zoo! Then the suitcase is accidentally switched with an identical one belonging to baker, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) also know as a 'no-maj' aka muggle. Chaos ensues as some the the beasts are let loose on the city. To make mattes worse....MACUSA Congress who is charged with keeping the wizarding world a secret have to contend with Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton) who believes in magic and witches and whose protests are getting out of hand. Along with that senior wizard Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) is trying to find dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) who is believed to be the cause of several 'magical' disasters plaguing New York. To top it all off Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a demoted Auror, sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong making a mess of everything for Newt and Jacob too!
The movie is enchanting in its world building and its magical elements along with some really amazing cgi creatures. You can't help but fall in love with these creatures even the Niffler a platypus looking thing that is racoon like in its thievery of bling and shiny things! It is this wee adorable creature that sets the whole plot in motion when he escapes the suitcase! You will not be disappointed by the creatures in this film!
My questions regarding the movie are numerous...why did Newt come to NY with a suitcase full of magical creatures when he knew of the strict rules of the Congress. It isn't until much much later in the film we find out he is trying to return one of the beasts to Arizona. If he is only returning one beast then why is he bringing all of those he collected instead of dropping them off in England with someone he trusted or wherever they actually were supposed to go initially. If he was to just keep them all in his zoo suitcase then why is he returning one in particular and not the rest? This confused me.
Despite all the actors being great, I found I didn't like the Tina character at all. She was annoying and didn't have any redeeming qualities so far as I could tell until maybe at the very end with Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) but it wasn't enough. Also Newt I found to be a rather mundane character in the wizarding world of Harry Potter - there are a dozen like him in the HP books. Who I did love was the characters of Jacob and Queenie (Alison Sudol) who were so sweet and charming and lovely together as they fall in love during the story. I wanted to see more of them. I even shed a tear or two at the end when they had to wipe Jacobs memory as he's a muggle/no-maj.
Somewhere this film lost the magic - it was good but it lacked that wow factor for me. It didn't have that initial Harry Potter 'magic' to it where the invisible and visible worlds collide. It was a good story but not a magical story if that makes any sense.
See it if you love HP and fantasy. You'll love the creatures and that's maybe what counts!