Fantastic Beasts reviews are in as critics hail Harry Potter spin-off

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is arguably one of the most anticipated movies of 2016, and just a few days before release the first reviews are in.

Fans have been getting pretty worked up for the ‘Harry Potter’ spin-off, especially since J.K. Rowling has written the screenplay (for the first time, no less). David Yates, helmer of several previous Potter adventures, is on directing duties and has just been confirmed to be in charge of all five movies in the new franchise.

So far reviews for the Eddie Redmayne-fronted fantasy adventure have been mainly positive, with The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw in awe with a 5-star review. In it, he describes the film as a “wonderfully fun adventure”, before praising Redmayne’s efforts as Newt Scamander:

“It’s a lovely performance from Eddie Redmayne who is a pretty fantastic beast himself. There’s a moment when he has to “whisper” an errant animal into submission and his contortions would put Andy Serkis to shame.” 

Similarly, the Telegraph’s Robbie Collin heaped praise on the film by declaring an extremely important movie: 

“Possibly by accident, but probably not, a film about a magical zookeeper has turned out to be the most unexpectedly relevant blockbuster of 2016.″

He awarded the film 4 stars, and interestingly mentions Johnny Depp’s much publicised role and how it actually alters the way you leave the cinema after seeing it: 

“Depp’s pop-up gurn sends you out of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ feeling more anxious about the franchise’s stamina than is probably necessary: as a feat of world-building and character-shaping, it sets an appealing stage.”  

Den of Geek say the film is reassuringly familiar, which will likely please Potter fans:

“In amongst the occasional reference to Hogwarts and its future inhabitants, ‘Fantastic Beast’s’ world-building soaks you up so quickly, that – even though the faces on the screen are different – there’s a sense of old friends at work.”

Their verdict isn’t as glowing as the above few, but with its still positive 3 stars declare “this one’s at times harder work than you might be prepared for.”

Empire also go with 3 stars, where Helen O’ Hara decrees Rowling has unlocked an entire new world for fans to indulge in:

“You have to credit J.K. Rowling. Rather than spin off new big-screen adventures for the generation-defining boy wizard, she and the Warner Bros. team have opened a completely different wizarding saga: a new era, new country and entirely new characters…”

Variety were keen to note the subtext and importance of what the film says, especially in 2016:

“’Fantastic Beasts ‘does double-duty as yet another imagination-tickling fantasy adventure and a deeply troubled commentary on tolerance, fear, and bigotry in the world today.” 

Currently, the movie is at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with 24 reviews certifying if fresh. That percentage is likely to alter when some less favourable reviews inevitably make their way online, but it’s a really positive start for a film that could turn out to be one of the biggest earners of the year.

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is in UK cinemas on 18 November.

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Picture credit: Warner Bros.