The first reviews for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are here, but is J.K. Rowling and David Yates' attempt to launch a magical new franchise a spellbinding success or a complete disaster?

Warner Bros. is hoping that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will launch a franchise spanning five movies, but for that to happen, the first will obviously have to be a success. Luckily for them, the vast majority of reviews are positive so far! The lowest score is 3*, but most are of the 4* and 5* variety, so that's definitely a good start for the film which is set to be released on November 13th. 

There are no spoilers in the excerpts below, but it goes without saying that they give at least a few details away about what we should expect from Fantastic Beasts. Interestingly, it seems like the majority agree that the franchise could have done with a new director at the helm and it doesn't sound like it manages to compare with the Harry Potter movies. We'll find out for ourselves soon enough!

It’s possible (and I’d say likely) that she will build on the foundation that Fantastic Beasts offers, and while it does raise questions about how Newt factors in when it appears that Rowling is keeping her eye on the looming conflict between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, for now it’s just a delight to return to the world she gifted us with Harry Potter and see it in a whole new light with Fantastic Beasts. [B+]

SOURCE: Collider

Rowling’s first screenplay (and the first Potter movie without Harry) can at times be as stuffed as Newt’s luggage. But there is an undeniable ambition and seriousness of purpose that has been woefully missing in blockbuster cinema as of late, even in other recent magic-induced superhero fare. Fantastic Beasts has a lot on its mind and swings for the fences to be a new classic. It might not fully achieve that status, but diehard fans will likely adore it and its familiar Rowling magic, which gently rolls through the 1920s Jazz Age—and toward the darkest of tunnels up ahead. [3.5*]

SOURCE: Den of Geek

The film, directed by seasoned Potter pro David Yates, unspools like a kiddie version of the X-Men flicks. The xenophobic Muggle population (or No-Majs, as they’re called Stateside) live in rabid suspicion of the hidden world of hocus-pocus. And like those films, its phantasmagorical special effects are easy on the eyes. So why does Fantastic Beasts feel so oddly lifeless? Why doesn’t it cast more of a spell? First, there are the performances, which aside from Redmayne’s are surprisingly flat. And second, the thinness of the source material gives the whole film a slightly padded feeling. Rowling, who also wrote the script, nimbly lays out her world, but that world isn’t nearly as rich as the world of Hogwarts. And the villains (chief among them Colin Farrell’s Percival Graves) are stock cinematic baddies. Fantastic Beasts is two-plus hours of meandering eye candy that feels numbingly inconsequential. Maybe this is all necessary table-setting that will lead to bigger payoffs in chapters 2 through 5. I hope so. Because for a movie stuffed with so many weird and wondrous creatures, there isn’t nearly enough magic. [B-]

SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly

Rowling and Yates have given us a terrifically good-natured, unpretentious and irresistibly buoyant film. There’s a scene in a speakeasy where someone orders "six shots of giggle-water." This film felt to me like twelve. [5*]

SOURCE: The Guardian

Much of the film's big wizarding-politics material will be appreciated mostly by those who thirst for ever more backstory in Rowling's universe. It will doubtless be useful as the franchise progresses, though — the main villain, Gellert Grindelwald, makes the kind of teasing appearance at the end that promises a long Voldemort-like story arc. (Avoid IMDB if you want that cameo to surprise you.) Whether or not the ensemble chemistry ever clicks to the extent it did for Harry, Hermione, and Ron, Rowling clearly has an endless supply of lore left to share with those invested in her world.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

While the crazy creatures are the highlight of the movie, they're not enough to recapture the magic of Harry's adventures at Hogwarts. The culprit is the dull directing style that doesn't allow the characters to pop or the plot twists to excite like they should. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a fine time, but it won't exactly sweep you up into New York City's wizarding world. [6.5/10]


Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is enthralling, enchanting and joyful. Transporting the Harry Potter universe to 1920s America gives Rowling a new sandbox to explore. And long-time Harry Potter helmer David Yates knows just how to bring the spectacle and heart audiences have come to demand from the franchise. Redmayne, delivering a lopsided smile, affable mumble and gangly physicality, offers a distinctively different hero to hang our hopes on. But for all his quirks, Scamander never veers from adorable to obnoxious. Strong supporting turns–from Fogler, Waterston, Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton and Colin Farrell–combine with awe-striking visuals and imaginative action sequences to conjure a vibrant adventure full of wonder, surprises and fun. [4*]

SOURCE: Nerdist

"I don’t think I’m dreaming and I ain’t got the brains to make this up," Jacob boggles when he realises the magical world he’s suddenly swamped by is for real. Fortunately for us, Rowling does. Keep it coming. [4*]

SOURCE: The Telegraph

And to think, people initially pondered how Harry’s slim textbook, which Rowling actually published in 2001 under the pseudonym of Newt Scamander, could be stretched into one feature, let alone five. Turns out it’s like Newt’s suitcase – bewitched with an Extension Charm, and promising extraordinary sights. This first instalment showcases just enough of them to make you sign up for the full expedition. [3*]

SOURCE: Total Film

Maintaining Yates as director lends a consistency to the project, and yet, it would have been refreshing to get a completely new take on Rowling’s world with this series, especially considering how murky and self-serious they got in the final chapters. Still, Yates knows this world as well as anyone, and he excels at finding visual solutions for challenging ideas (whether it’s how a witch might cook without an oven or a creature who either grows or shrinks to the available space). With all its ties to Harry Potter arcana, “Fantastic Beasts” has clearly been designed for the most devoted of Rowling’s fans, and though it may prove confusing to newcomers, the faithful will appreciate the fact the film never talks down to its audience.

SOURCE: Variety

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" has all the makings of a huge family blockbuster, but all the bloated traps of those, too. It hasn’t quite got the balance right, but, like the title hints, surely knows where to find the magic formula over the ensuing movies. I’d check down that cheeky Niffler’s pouch, for starters.

SOURCE: The Wrap
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