The Loch Ness Monster is really just a Kelpie that shapeshifts into a sea serpent when it wants to. Before the legend of Nessie became popular, a kelpie was what people originally believed lived in Loch Ness. The fact that a Kelpie is having fun messing with Muggles by letting them see it, then changing into something entirely different when they come searching. It is literally the ultimate magical troll creature.
The only record of a Chimera being killed "led to the unlucky wizard in question falling from his winged horse".note In the original legend, after slaying it while riding the winged horse Pegasus, Bellerophon tried to fly to Mount Olympus (where the gods lived). Guess how well that turned out for him.
The names of several of the winged horse breeds are taken from the names of mythical horses:
Abraxan and Aethonian: From Abraxus and Aethon, the horses that pulled the chariot of Helios, the Greek sun god.
Granian: from Grani, the steed of Sigurd in the Volsunga Saga, and a descendant of Sleipnir.
The Nundu, which resembles a leopard, is said to be utterly silent, gigantic, and able to wipe out entire villages just by breathing due to the diseases on its breath; it's so dangerous that the only successful kills have come from one hundred wizards working in concert. For comparison, that's ten times as many wizards as it takes to subdue the average dragon.
The Lethifold sneaks up on unsuspecting victims and smothers them in their sleep. And digests them on the spot and leaves no evidence of their demise. They also have a deceptive cunning to boot, that coupled with the fact that they can blend in with a fairly large range of things, means that they could be anywhere. And they can only be driven off by a Patronus, which is extremely difficult to summon. And even that might not help, because it could smother and eat a victim before they could reach their wand.
The Manticore, a Shout-Out to classical Greek Mythology. It has a man's head, a lion's body, and a scorpion's tail, and its sting causes instant death. If that wasn't enough, its skin is nigh-invulnerable to magic. Not to mention it can speak intelligently and croons while it eats its prey. And Hagrid possibly crossbred one.note It's a Rita Skeeter article, so take it with a grain of salt, but if anyone would crossbreed manticores with fire-crabs, it'd be Hagrid.
Then there's the Quintapeds. According to legend, they were once a family of wizards before they were transformed into monsters by a rival wizard family, who were in turn eaten by the beasts they created. Whether or not the legend is true, these carnivorous five-legged human-eating beasts rate five Xs, and are so dangerous the island they live on has been marked completely hazardous and enchanted so it can't be placed on maps. God help us all if those things are capable of breeding.
Modesty. Is she actually descended from witches and wizards and her wand real? Or was her wand just a toy and she's just a Red Herring? Official material, like the screenplay, states that the wand was just a toy, so take that as you will.
Graves' relationship with Credence. On one hand, Grindelwald!Graves acts supporting towards Credence and seems upset when MACUSA destroys him, demanding to know who their laws really protect. On the other, he was quick to throw Credence away when he failed him, only showing him care again when Credence reveals he's the Obscurial. Did Grindelwald care about Credence at all or did he only see him as a tool? There is also the question of whether the original Graves knew Credence, and if Grindelwald was building off an existing connection.
Graves seeming sympathetic towards Tina earlier on. Was this just Grindelwald staying in-character as Graves? Or did he see genuine potential (or a possible ally) in Tina, since she assaulted a muggle and had known dislike of the New Salem Philanthropic Society.
Similarly, Graves looked distressed upon ordering the execution of Newt and Tina. Was Grindelwald still caught up in the role of Graves? Did he genuinely regret ordering the death of two young wizards who essentially only got caught up in his schemes by accident? Was he just annoyed at another complication in his plans?
The concept of the Obscurus bears several similarities to the story of Ariana Dumbledore, who also had repressed her magic after a traumatic event and could be downright dangerous if she lost control of her powers. It may also be another reason Grindelwald approached Dumbledore in the first place in order to investigate Ariana.
The very calm, unquestioning executioners. They may have had total trust in Graves' judgement. Alternatively, they might have been placed under the Imperius Curse, as Grindelwald!Graves did not seem worried that they overheard his slip while talking to Newt.
Gnarlack's betrayal of Newt and the others is, as far as he knows, him informing the authorities on the location of four wanted criminals planning to start a war between wizards and muggles. Even Evil Has Standards, or perhaps Pragmatic Villainy? Either way, he's perhaps not as bad as you'd first think. Of course, he might have simply wanted to play both sides against each other and get the reward from both of them.
Angst? What Angst?: Both Newt and Tina have very personal reasons for wanting to save Credence. Newt, because Credence is an Obscurial, and the last one Newt tried and failed to save was a little girl. Tina, because she was demoted from auror specifically because she saved Credence from his adopted mother's abuse during one of Mary Lou's sermons, necessitating all No-Majs present to be have their memories wiped. Yet when their attempts to save him are thwarted when President Picquery has Credence killed, Graves shows more anger and regret at his death than either of them.
Anvilicious: Some fans take issue with the film's portrayal of Wizarding America and Rowling's worldbuilding notes on Pottermore, arguing that they play up the worst elements of US culture and history (sex scandals, witch trials, strict segregation, a xenophobic government and populace, a cruel death penalty with too little judicial oversight) with little subtlety or nuance, making Wizarding Britainnote Azkaban, a clueless Minister and inept Ministry, Death Eaters, and all look vastly more enlightened by comparison. Others may agree with some of Rowling's points, but think they could have been toned down just a bit.
To some extent, the decision to expand the planned three-film saga into a five-film saga would count. Aside from the most obvious reasons that they'd want to stretch this series out, one of the biggest complaints against the film is that the amount of exposition relative to the amount of action it has wore it down to some degree. Telling a story over a greater number of films, of course, would allow for the story to have more room to breathe while also leaving more room for action sequences. The inclusion of Grindelwald's rise to power makes the decision for several movies even more plausible, as it allows him to be shown as a powerful threat, with people waiting on his duel with Dumbledore in 1945.
The Obliviate Curse is treated here as a pretty terrible thing, which many fans had thought since the original books, especially since it was shown to cause brain damage if done too much, or if badly cast. Jacob's memory being erased at the end is one of the film's saddest scenes.
One of main characters being a Muggle. This means we finally get to see the world of Harry Potter universe from the viewpoint of a Muggle. Not to mention said Muggle is a nice and open-minded man, unlike the xenophobic Dursleys. Furthermore, in the previous books and films, the wizarding world, including the heroes, tended to treat Muggles as inferior to them and without any respect. Here Jacob not only pulls his own weight throughout the adventure, he's even able to help out by using mundane solutions that the wizards don't even think of.
The base is split as to whether the films are a worthy addition to the Harry Potter canon or a lazy cash-grab.
The usual handful of people have taken issue with the lack of diversity in the casting choices of the main characters, especially since the film is not based on a book. Others have insisted that it isn't really that much of an issue because of the varied background characters in the trailer and it's justified since the population of New York City in the 1920s was about 95% white.
One point of excitement is that we're finally being given an opportunity to see the rest of the world, not bound to the Trio and Voldemort's story. Others have been a little more skeptical, and want the movie to take place in different locations around the world.
One rather sticky point of contention is the announcement that American wizards do not use the term Muggles, instead opting for "No-Maj". Some fans prefer the term "Muggle" over proposed substitutes, while others contend that it sounds distinctly British and likely wouldn't be used overseas. Still others agree with the latter point but think that "No-Maj" is a weak alternative, arguing that even a shortening like "Mug" would have sounded more American and less clumsy than "No-Maj."
On the same note, the reveal that French wizards in the second movie would use the word "Non-Magique" ("Non-Magical") rather than the established translation "Moldu" stirred up a lot of complaints from French fans. Some fans argue that "Moldus" was just a translation of "Muggle" anyway and that it makes more sense for French wizards to have their own word, whereas others would rather see the translation they grew up with be used, and point out that unlike the "No-Maj"/"Muggle" debate in which both terms still exist In-Universe, this would make "Non-Magique" the actual French equivalent of those terms, thus implying that "Moldus" was never a real word In-Universe to begin with. A third group is fine with "Moldu" not being used, but considers "Non-Magique" an especially unimaginative alternative, and would have preferred a term inspired by Latin or Germanic etymology.
The fact that this is yet another series of prequels following a beloved franchise, especially coming off the heels of both highly divisive trilogies: the Star Wars prequels and the The Hobbit films. Some say that the new movies will follow in the same path as the aforementioned movies while others say to wait and see, as this won't directly tie into the Harry Potter films as much as what the previous prequel trilogies did to their respective franchises. Not helping matters is the fact that the movie has a lower score on Rotten Tomatoes than any of the Harry Potter films, though higher than any of the other aforementioned prequels except Revenge of the Sith.
Johnny Depp's casting as Gellert Grindelwald. Some (including, apparently J.K. Rowling herself) were happy with the choice and applauded him for being a great actor, but quite a few think he was all wrong compared to the way they imagined Grindelwald to be from his brief mentions in the books — the image of a handsome, sharp-dressed, silver-tongued man had crystalized so much in the fans' mind that they took the somewhat pudgy, soft-speaking Depp Grindelwald, especially with his extremely strange haircut and mustache, as a betrayal. Others don't especially dislike this version of the character, but think that as an American, he's the wrong fit for a continental European wizard. Also, a significant chunk of the fandom expressed horror not because of the performance but because of the highly publicized (but since dropped without as much of a charge pressed) allegations of domestic abuse during Depp's divorce proceedings in 2016note it should be noted that Fantastic Beasts began shooting in 2015, before said allegations were made public. Additionally, accusations of either spousal or child abuse being brought up during a divorce is so common most courts have a standard procedure for it.. One admin on the Harry Potter Wiki even resigned over the inclusion on that wiki of a Johnny Depp article, but has since rejoined. Many others simply felt Colin Farrell's portrayal was vastly better than Depp's Narmy scene, and set up petitions demanding his return.
Counterpart Comparison: In addition to how characters here get compared to those from the main Harry Potter series Credence's severe haircut, immense magical power, destructive tendencies when mocked or upset, notable immaturity despite his apparent age, and antiquated mode of dress (even for the 1920s) lend to easy comparisons to the DC character Klarion the Witch Boy. Being a member of a group that uses "witches" as the default term for magic users doesn't help given the character's title.
Epileptic Trees: With the revelation that a look will be taken at the rise of Grindelwald, and that he (and presumably Dumbledore as well) will take on a larger role as the series goes on, some fans are pondering whether we might eventually see the famous duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald for the first time in any medium.
Fanfic Fuel: How Newt acquired the creatures in his care seemes rife with narrative possibilities.
Fashion-Victim Villain: Grindelwald's ridiculous hairdo and makeup do not leave the character with a lot of dignity.
Fridge Horror: To anyone caught up on the Harry Potter books, the origin of the Scourers at first makes no sense, given we were told in an earlier book that the tragedy of the Witch Hunts, from actual wizard perspectives, is that they only killed Muggles, as actual wizards could easily get out of the mess with their magic. To the point mention is made of one Nightmare Fetishist witch who repeatedly got herself caught and burned because she enjoyed the sensation of flames under a Fire-Freezing Spell so much. The realization, and the dawning horror, is that the book was likely referring to the European Witch Hunts, which was purely an outburst of Muggle insanity and callous profiteering (see: the Witch Finder General). In America's Salem Witch Hunts, however, the whole affair was orchestrated by wizards, so those wizards and witches who got caught were probably attacked and rendered helpless by their own people first. Also, no Fire-Freezing Spell is going to save someone who's being hanged, which was the execution method used at Salem Village.
Genius Bonus: The Singer Building that stood until the 1960s in lower Manhattan is the focus of an intro shot, setting the scene nicely for anyone who recognises the long demolished skyscraper.
He Really Can Act: Colin Farrell as Gellert Grindelwald surprised many viewers with his performance, coming across as mysterious, sinister, and genuinely threatening while also charismatic and even sympathetic at times. Many fans have called for him to take over the role fully from Johnny Depp.
This is also isn't the first time that a character named Newt who likes Fantastic Beasts has gone to Ron Perlman in a somewhat seedy underground location in order to get information.
This isn't the first franchise that had its installments located in its home countrynote Britain for Harry Potter and Japan regions for Pokémon for its first 15 years, then moved to America and then moved to France.
Jacob and Newt, whose first meeting involves watching an occamy egg hatch together. In the famous suitcase scene, Newt even introduces Jacob to "his" occamy, while referring to himself as their "mummy".
Credence and Graves have more than a few intimate scenes including one where Graves gives Credence a gift and tells him to call on him "whenever he needs him". He is also incredibly handsy with Credence and usually mere inches from him. They also had a deleted scene in which Graves takes Credence to dinner and gives him a flower. The screenplay adds credencenote I see what you did there to this, describing Credence as "utterly enthralled" with Graves and when he sees him, "everything else is forgotten." The fact that in the books, Grindelwald (who impersonates Graves throughout the movie) was Dumbledore's Closet Key does not help.
It Was His Sled: Johnny Depp's cameo appearance as Grindelwald, which was intended to be a major surprise (albeit one that was hinted at), was spoiled by many outlets a few weeks ahead of the movie's release. Given that his character's presence generated a lot of interest from the fanbase ahead of the movie's release date, and that it directly preceded an increase in opening weekend projections, this might not have been a bad thing. It's actually a downplayed example from the standpoint of the cast and crew, who were afraid that the aforementioned spoiler was going to leak much earlier than it did.
A fair number of Harry Potter fans who weren't particularly interested in the premise of a Potter-free movie set in the universe were on the fence about the film got on-board at the last minute once it was confirmed that the film would include a cameo from Grindelwald and would lead up to the legendary confrontation between Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
Some fans truly were just there to see the monsters. There's a fabulous Thunderbird, after all.
After Pokémon GO came out, many jokes surfaced about how everyone already knows where to find fantastic beasts. One commenter, Kenny Tee on the San Diego Comic Con trailer even called the film "Fantastic Pokemon and Where to Go Find Them".
Thanks to unfortunate choice of words in the Russian version, the title itself became a meme.note Фантастические твари и где они обитают. The word "твари" indeed can mean "beasts" or "animals", but it is the old meaning which is now almost forgotten. In the modern speech, this word is used to point at... not a good person.
Narm: The reveal that Graves is Grindelwald is difficult to take seriously, owing to the character's ridiculous appearance, especially his blond moustache. His confusing "Will we die, just a little?" line didn't help matters.
Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Subverted. Gellert Grindelwald's involvement in the movie's plot was teased, but never confirmed, until the last few trailers, and his actor was kept a complete secret until journalists who attended early press screenings began questioning on social media what Johnny Depp was doing in the movie.
No Yay: Some of the interactions between Percival Graves/Gellert Grindelwald and Credence Barebone come off as this. Given how close he stands to Credence every time they are together, the way he is always touching his face, hair, or neck, the power imbalance and age difference between them, and the way Grindelwald uses apparent affection to manipulate him, his relationship with Credence takes on pedophilic overtones despite the fact that Credence is of age.
Johnny Depp's cameo as Grindelwald. The character's presence gives decisive direction for the remaining four films in the series to take.
Ron Perlman shows up very briefly as Gnarlack, the goblin owner of a magical speakeasy, but he steals the entire scene with his presence and charisma.
Signature Scene: The scene where Newt takes Jacob inside his case and shows him his fantastic menagerie of magical beasts.
Special Effects Failure: When Newt and Jacob are holding and touching the creatures inside Newt's case, there isn't much of a sense of weight or pressure in their interactions with the creatures, which makes it obvious that the actors are just miming their actions and the CGI creatures were added in post-production.
Squick: Mary Lou making Credence take off his own belt so she can beat him with it, hurting him with his own clothes that he wears at his midsection — she's essentially emasculating him. Graves going the opposite way and trying to bait him with affection and then rejecting him hard for being a Squib and only using him to find the Obscurial didn't do his psyche any favors.
They Changed It, So It Sucks: Words in this case, as mentioned above, many fans are upset that the word "Muggle" is replaced by "No-Maj." Some take issue with the lack of the word "Muggle;" others simply believe that "No-Maj" is a weak substitute.
The main villain of the series? An American Grindelwald follower Knight Templar who believes that The Masquerade is tyranny, and who manages an epic Villain Has a Point speech? No. He was Grindelwald in disguise all along, which means we already know how the main villain will be defeated, and that it will not be Newt who beats him.
The Nundu is described in the book as being possibly the most dangerous magical creature in the world. We do see one briefly, but it's little more than just another creature in Newt's case.
With the movie being called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, you'd think it would be more about, well, the fantastic beasts. While Newt and company catching the beasts does play a part, a large part of the movie is exposition and a subplot that isn't fully explained.
Alternatively, somewhere in the tangle of plots concerning a magical monster loose in New York, Muggles -sorry No-Majs - becoming aware of and hostile to the wizarding world and characters questioning the real reasoning behind the masquerade is a compelling story waiting to be told.
Trapped by Mountain Lions: Almost the entire subplot about the Shaws is irrelevant to the actual plot; it only serves to supply Credence Barebone with an Asshole Victim in the form of Henry Shaw Jr. Langdon helping the Second Salemers or his implied resentment towards his brother, and Henry Sr.'s anger over his son's death end up going nowhere, even when they're explicitly shown outside the subway during the climax as if they're about to do something. Considering their irrelevance and limited screen time, they're surprisingly well-developed, especially when Henry Jr., the only one to be plot relevant in some way, is little more than a Jerkass politician. Perhaps we'll see more of them in the future?
Picquery can be a Reasonable Authority Figure, but at times it seems almost as if she is just taking out stress on Tina. This seems especially true at the second meeting scene wherein she sees proof that what is going on might be linked to Tina's emergency yesterday... then proceeds to order Tina to be punished for not telling them sooner when she brushed Tina off.
Also, much of what the magical creatures do through the course of the film coupled with some of the things said about them makes Newt's "They aren't dangerous!" pleas come off as Blatant Lies, which reflects poorly on Newt.
Values Resonance: Despite having harsh laws against No-Maj/wizard relations, MACUSA not only is led by a female president but she's also black (who's also not the first woman to hold the office — one served as far back as the 1700s), while at the time their No-Maj female counterparts only recently gained the right to vote at all, and in much of the US black people had theirs (among other rights) denied.
Catch someone violating the laws? Why, bring them up to the president directly without regards for her being in a meeting. Or better yet, having no security for said meeting to stop her. Although this is mitigated slightly by the fact that the president seems to be in the Auror office for a meeting with Graves, Tina asks to be taken to 'major investigations', rather than directly to the president, and seems surprised to see Picquery herself is there. This is more an unfortunate series of coincidences than anything else.
The Woobie: Credence Barebone is regularly abused by his mother, mocked with disdain by the Shaws, and only receives any sort of affection from Mr. Graves. Turns out, it isn't Graves at all, but Grindlewald in disguise, who is only using him to find the Obscurial, and then promptly throws him away when he thinks Credence is no longer of any use.
Woolseyism: In Japan, the film is titled ファンタスティック・ビーストと魔法使いの旅 (roughly Fantastic Beasts and the Wizard's Journey), following the naming structure of the Potter books and helping to show that this is a new adventure taking place in the same universe. Additionally, the bottom of the kana character ビ is elongated into an occamy's tail much like the S in Beasts in the English logo.