I solemnly swear I am up to no good...
With the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, we now officially have eleven movies in the Wizarding World. I've ranked the Harry Potter films before, but that was like, two years ago and I hadn't seen Crimes of Grindelwald. So now, you get my full, "professional" movie critic thoughts on the Wizarding World. With Secrets of Dumbledore. Enjoy!
11. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
This film oozes meh. On the positive side, I think Johnny Depp is a good Grindelwald. He's menacing but also charming. He has a good presence, and they show how far he is willing to go to complete his mission. I like the inclusion of Dumbledore. I like the continued exploration of the Wizarding World. But the story is a complete mess. There's way too much going on. It's a confusing film, which is unnecessary, because the main premise about Credence is very simple. There are parts that I like. But overall, this film is not very good.
10. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I used to love Chamber of Secrets. It was one of my favorite Potter films when I was seven or eight years old. When I rewatched the movies last year, though, it wasn't as good. In fact, it wasn't really that good at all. I love the central mystery. It's very creepy and interesting. But this film is so long. It's the second shortest book, but the longest movie...by far. It's two hours and forty minutes. So, by the time you reach the finale, you are so burned out that it leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth. Once again, there are parts I really like, but I cannot say I like Chamber of Secrets.
9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Easily the most forgettable film on this list, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them serves as a mediocre return to the world of Harry Potter. Newt Scamander is a fun protagonist, played to absolute perfection by Eddie Redmayne. There's a mystery here that's somewhat interesting. But, to be honest, I barely remember anything from this movie. It's so forgettable.
8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
My biggest complaint with Half-Blood Prince is the look. It looks like someone smeared gray vaseline all over the camera lens. Why they did this look, I will never know. Besides that, Half-Blood Prince has a wonky tone. It hops from rom-com to dark thriller from scene to scene. In one scene, you will have a joke about Ron being in love. In the next scene, he gets poisoned and nearly dies. It's strange. However, I think the story here is good. The mystery of the Half-Blood Prince is great. The climax is emotional and exciting. This is not a very good movie. But it isn't terrible, either.
7. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Secrets of Dumbledore is a mostly mixed bag with a fantastic climax. On the positives, the story is more focused. The characters are more fun. And there is actual awesome wizard action here. It fixes the problems of Crimes of Grindelwald, but still definitely has problems itself. It doesn't recapture the wonder that the Harry Potter films have. It's still a little bit overstuffed. This is a very entertaining movie that shows signs of life from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Hopefully they can use this film as a building block and really end strong with the next two films.
Just as a point of reference, I think there's a big jump in quality from this film to the next film.
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Order of the Phoenix is the film where we see Harry Potter become the chosen one. He faces a totally different type of challenge when Dolores Umbridge takes over as headmistress of Hogwarts. And so he has to start Dumbledore's army in the room of requirement. This is very much the Empire Strikes Back of the Potter films. The finale is super exciting and delivers some of the best wizard action that we've seen in the series. And this is easily Daniel Radcliffe's best performance as The Boy Who Lived. I think that this is one of the slower Potter films. The pace isn't very good. But this is definitely a good movie.
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
This is the one that started it all. What I appreciate about Sorcerer's Stone is the world-building and the sense of wonder that it brings. You are being whisked on this magical journey alongside Harry Potter. The Wizarding World is one of the coolest and most fun fictional places, and they really make you love it. The story is small scale. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson aren't quite great actors yet. The dialogue is a bit clunky. But you can ignore all of that, because Sorcerer's Stone is just pure entertainment at its finest.
4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Prisoner of Azkaban is when the Harry Potter films start to get darker. Alfonso Cuaron brings. a new, slick style to the franchise that elevates this movie above the first two. It feels like the series is maturing, and I appreciate that. There are elements of other genres mixed in here: the dementors bring horror into the Wizarding World, the time-turners bring time travel into it, and the escaped Sirius Black gives this whole movie a sense of tension that makes it feel almost like a thriller. While Prisoner is not my personal favorite, I really, l really like and appreciate it.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
Deathly Hallows - Part 1 is often considered one of the worst Potter films. And I simply don't understand that. I love this movie. Before the big action spectacle that Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is, director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves decided to give us a slower, more character-based film. This film delivers on the most important front: it makes you care a lot about Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It shows you how this war affects them. They are on a mission that is tearing them apart. They rely on each other and help each other out, but they also fight with each other. I just love how much this focuses on the golden trio. And I think it has an equally thrilling climax that ends with the single saddest death in the series. This movie is great. I don't care what anyone else says.
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Goblet of Fire may not be the highest quality of all the Potter films. It's the least faithful to the books. But this movie is really, really fun. The Triwizard Tournament is very fun to watch. I think the third task is kind of lame, but the battle against the dragon and against the mermaids is incredible. And that final sequence in the graveyard is one of the best in the entire franchise. This film marks the return of Voldemort, and I have to put it high for that. It's just fun. I understand that there are problems and that the story be a little wobbly, but this is one of the most fun Potter films.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
The payoff to ten years of movies is nothing short of incredible. Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is an action-packed spectacle that has all the character moments you want. All the payoffs you need. And all of the super cool wizard action that you get. This film is about Harry and Voldemort. They have more screen time than anyone else. You understand their similarities and their differences. You understand their rivalry. It's a great hero-villain relationship, and I really appreciate that they devoted time to that. It ends on a highly satisfying note with the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. There's almost nothing negative I have to say about this film. It's fantastic.