There are few films out there that are capable of capturing a warm sense of magical wonder; the Harry Potter franchise are perhaps the pivotal example in cinema of this feeling being translated on-screen. From the harrowing journey of children growing up in a dark wizarding war, to the peculiar journey of a Magizoologist in search of fantastical creatures – the Harry Potter film franchise is undoubtedly one of a kind. But how do these film’s stack up against one another? Well, today we’ll provide a (completely subjective) list and detail our reasons why we’ve listed them as such.
Where to even begin with this one… Lazily written and easily forgettable, The Crimes of Grindelwald loses the magic that makes the Harry Potter films so great. Whatever the first Fantastic Beast does well, The Crimes of Grindelwald seemingly undoes as it fails to expand and build upon this wonderful universe.
9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
There’s nothing particularly wrong with Fantastic Beasts other than it ultimately not being Harry Potter – call it bias, call it blind nostalgia – truthfully though, I’d call it common sense. This entry is tied to no grand arc, no beloved characters, and quite frankly, struggles to create any. As I say, there’s nothing particularly wrong with Fantastic Beasts… other than it being not all that fantastic.
Order of the Phoenix marks the lowest of the 8-film story as it has the tall task of adapting the franchises longest book and to condense that into a 2 hour 18 minute film. Order of the Phoenix has commemorable aspects to its storytelling by sticking with Harry Potter’s for the majority of the story, which I find to be crucial to his character in the future films. Providing a much more mature angle and foreshadowing what is to come for this universe. Also, it gave us one of the most hated villains of all-time (and no, it’s not Voldemort).
Exploring the world of Harry Potter further, not only in the book but also in this film, Chamber of Secrets deep dives into Hogwarts history and everything bad that has happened in its past. While it couldn’t quite capture the magic of the first film, Chamber of Secrets still has its moments of fun, as well as a few scares and tense moments along the way.
The Deathly Hallows Part 1 establishes the stakes to come, it lays down the reality of the trio’s situation in a bleak and honest manner – not everyone will survive this war, and the success of their mission perhaps lies entirely on their trust and bond with one another. This film is the beginning of the end of the Harry Potter films, a crucial step in concluding a beautiful franchise.
Each Harry Potter film contains something pivotal to the story, and with The Half Blood Prince it is undoubtedly the death of Dumbledore – this moment brings the narrative into the realm of reality, and although it spends some time dallying with uninteresting story aspects the importance of what it is setting up cannot be ignored. The Half Blood Prince is really the meat and potatoes in what sets up the final films.
The film that started it all. The Philosopher’s Stone is the warm hearth of the Harry Potter franchise. It’s where childhood wonderment and innocence filled the halls of Hogwarts and by extension made every impressionable child at the cinemas dream of being part of such a magical adventure. It’s Christmas movie vibes are matched only by its endearing drive to inspire wonder. This is the Harry Potter film we all look back to if we want to taste that nostalgic feeling of magic we all once felt as children.
The Goblet of Fire is the turning point in the Harry Potter franchise. While the film starts off with a fun tournament between three wizarding schools, it is suddenly put into disarray as the emergence of Lord Voldemort in physical form is brought back to life. It is this moment where the stakes are raised for Harry Potter and the rest of the wizarding world, as the series is now driven into its endgame.
The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a beautiful finale to a decade long journey, closing its franchise that ultimately explores moral complexity, showing that we all have darkness in us, and we can conquer it. A franchise that captured the hearts of millions and injected some magic in the world ends on a note that gives meaning to the lengthy journey and establishes this films noteworthy legacy. Narratively, the ending is fitting and ends up being 100% emotionally satisfying.
There was nothing else it could have been really! Literally the turning point where the Harry Potter films changed into a darker direction thanks to Alfonso Cuarón. Prisoner of Azkaban puts the Voldemort side of the Harry Potter story to the side as it focuses on Sirius Black as being the main villain of the film. We are introduced to a plethora of new iconic and fan favourite characters who each plays a major part in the future installments. Prisoner of Azkaban is not only a step in the right direction for the Harry Potter franchise but also a faithful adaptation of the book itself.