The film follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a wizard from Hogwarts who studies and protects exotic creatures, travels to New York, where the creatures inside his magic suitcase escape and run free. He joins an aspiring but bumbling baker named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) to wrangle the creatures back into the suitcase before Newt and many other wizards in America are outed as magic users. For, in America, wizards are widely persecuted, especially by the New Salem Philanthropic Society run by Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton), who warns people of the dangers of wizards and magic. Thus, Newt must navigate his way through New York, looking for his lost creatures while keeping his wizard profile a secret, fighting prejudice against magic, and a new, mysterious threat.
Also present in the film is an extensive look at the relationship between No-Maj’s and wizards. Wizards in the Harry Potter series generally remain hidden from the world of non-magic users (or “Muggles”) at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This film, however, shows more of wizards hiding among No-Maj’s and outside of their comfort zones. We take a look inside the New Salem Philanthropic Society, where we see children of magical background oppressed for their dangerous powers and focus in on the life of Credence Barebones (Ezra Miller), who is given especially cruel treatment by his adopted mother. We also see the pressure that the Magical Congress of the USA faces of keeping magic a secret to the No-Maj’s while Newt Scamander’s creatures are running free across New York and dealing with a new, dark creature called an Obscurial, the violent spirit of a repressed wizard.
Regardless of how the villain may have pulled the film down from being excellent, Fantastic Beasts was an overall enjoyable ride once again through J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.