Watched this again with a more critical eye, though again when they enter the transformed Woolworth Building it was magical enough to tempt me to again go along for the ride. Though I understand I am now a minority opinion, I find may of the general criticisms against it to be overblown.
I like the look of New York City, which is tweaked to look like a magical version of the world. Most of the CG givaway is in the sky and the way the light reflects off the buildings. It doesn't have that layer of dirt that Alfonso Cuaron brought along with Azkaban, but it doesn't have that scrubbed clean appearance that screams "backlot set" or "built by computers" either.
I like Eddie Redmayne's performance. He does something that often gets praised in indie films, by acting withdrawn and socially awkward, including mumbly speech, he draws me in. He gets me to focus my attention because he knows so much about this world and I want to know more. Much preferable to a classic leading man performance of someone who commandingly knows everything. I want to know about his time at Hogwarts and his relationship to Lestrange.
One valid criticism is that because there's the larger story to tell, we often lose focus of Newt's mission. Recovering his 4 magical creatures is often pushed into the background because there's so much more to set up and many more characters to get to. His story often seems like a different film from Credence until the end. The connection comes about in an unusual way that's easy to miss. When Tina is about to be killed we get a memory from her that shows she knows Mary Lou and her kids. Later on, she talks about what happened and how it got her in trouble with The Macusa, but the scene is so brief it doesn't really hit home.
That and Katherine Waterston's performance is the weakest of the group. Partly her fault and mostly the writing. It's the one character that leaves the actress looking for memorable stuff to do. No such problem with Kowalski and Queenie, who I loved even more this time. Kowalski's goodbye is one of the best scenes of the film because of how Dan Fogler is the one who accepts his time among magic must end. That scene is where I realized how much I loved these characters, and the following scene with just Newt and Tina doesn't have the same emotion.
I’m not one to pick apart films for having plot holes, but this one is riddled with so many I found myself days afterwards still picking at it. Why would Newt take a boat to New York when wizards have the ability to teleport (and do just that countless times in this film)?
Newt didn't just want to teleport to his destination. He wanted to take the opportunity to travel and see the U.S. New York was a stop on his way to Arizona and he wanted to see the big city.
If you had magical creatures in your bag, wouldn’t you lock it tight? Also, if you’re in the bag (it’s bigger on the inside), wouldn’t you have some sort of escape hatch to prevent someone from closing and latching the bag on you?
I'll give you this one. The broken lock is a quirk which works for the whimsey of the world and it fits that Newt wouldn't have a hard-locked case, but for someone so concerned with the care of his creatures he should take better precautions against escape. I could come up with a convoluted explanation about the bag being easy to escape in case he got trapped inside, but now some of his creatures knew the trick, but I'd be grabbing at straws.
Why for goodness sake would the characters in the film tote around a non-mag for the entirety of the movie when his only role in the group is to get saved by the magic users?
When Kowalski opens up the case, he is bit in the neck by one of the creatures. He initially sticks around because they need to watch over him while he recovers and can't bring him to a hospital because it would bring up an investigation about how the animal got out in the first place. Over dinner, Tina says that Kowalski will have to be Obliviated as soon as he's well, but Newt and Queenie like him and want him as a friend, holding off on that moment until it's necessary. The rest of the story keeps delaying the Obliviation.
And why don’t the New York magicians have any sort of effective security to prevent ridiculously obvious breaches of security?
Kind of a vague comment. Macusa agents patrol the streets, much like cops. Unable to prevent crimes but ready to restore order.
If this magical evil is so devastating and dangerous, why the hell isn’t it mentioned in the Harry Potter stories? It makes Dementors look like a walk in the park.
Ariana Dumbledore, Albus Dumbledore's younger sister, died when she was 14. She was known to be sick. She never attended Hogwarts or went to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Muriel Weasley speculates in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" that she was a squib and that she was responsible for the death of her mother, Kendra Dumbledore. Later in the book, Aberforth Dumbledore, Ariana and Albus's brother, says when Ariana was six years old, she was attacked by Muggle boys. "It destroyed her, what they did: She was never right again," Aberforth said. "She wouldn’t use magic, but she couldn’t get rid of it; it turned inward and drove her mad, it exploded out of her when she couldn’t control it, and at times she was strange and dangerous. But mostly she was sweet and scared and harmless."
"[If] the Ministry had known what Ariana had become, she’d have been locked up in St. Mungo’s for good. They’d have seen her as a serious threat to the International Statute of Secrecy, unbalanced like she was, with magic exploding out of her at moments when she couldn’t keep it in any longer."
To keep Ariana safe and quiet, the family moved to quiet Godric's Hollow. When she was fourteen, "she had one of her rages" and killed her mother.
To make things worse, the music kicks in during dramatic moments and it’s one of the most tone-deaf, out of touch soundtracks I’ve ever heard from a film. Obviously, not having John Williams is going to take the music a step down, but whoever decided when and where to put the music in this film should have their ears checked. Bright, swelling music will play over a dark, dramatic twist and absolutely kill the mood.
I was paying attention to the score, which I liked overall. I wish I knew exact music cues you're referring to because I'm sure you're right but every time I thought about it, the score fit the mood.