We’ve recently finished reviewing all eight of the Harry Potter films. It was a fun little ride down memory lane. And a surprisingly consistent one at that! All of these movies were at the very least enjoyable!
That said, not all Harry Potter stories are created equal. Some of these movies are definitely better than others. So, which are the best? Which are the worst? That’s what I’m here to decide now!
As per usual, this is all my opinion, so try not to get too mad. Especially because, in all honesty, this list doesn’t really matter. These movies are all so close in quality that the list ultimately just boils down to personal preference.
Okay, I know I just said that all of these movies are about the same in quality. But I feel that this one is the exception to that rule.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good movie. It has strong moments, one of the best endings in the series, and it sets up the finale that is Deathly Hallows really well. Unfortunately, it’s bogged down by terrible romantic subplots, a Quidditch plot no one alive gives a fuck about, and awkward comedy. That, and it’s really not a pretty movie to look at; the colors are all so desaturated that it’s just kinda dull on the eyes.
Do I hate this one? No. But it’s definitely the one in the series I least enjoy rewatching. And least frequently rewatch.
Deathly Hallows Part 1
This one was a lot better than I remembered it being. The character drama we get here is some of the absolute best in the entire series. And the few action scenes we do get are pretty fun!
That said, the pacing is definitely an issue. This is a very slow movie and it can get a little dull at times. Not to mention that this one, much like Half-Blood Prince, really isn’t visually appealing. The shaky-cam makes action scenes insufferable and the colors are so dark and desaturated that it’s just draining to look at.
I view this movie as a necessary sacrifice of sorts. If it didn’t exist, the grand finale that is Part 2 wouldn’t have worked as well as it did. So for that, I can appreciate this movie despite its flaws.
Chamber of Secrets
Chamber of Secrets is the one you could most easily write out of the story without losing much. It’s a weird and awkwardly complex story. But it’s more than saved by stellar acting and special effects; seriously, this movie still looks good!
I just can’t get over how dumb this plot is when you really look at it. Why would Voldemort give Lucius one of his magic Horcruxes just so he could give it to Ginny Weasley of all people? How did Moaning Myrtle never see the basilisk or the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets when she lives in the same toilet where they both are? Why does Dumbledore hire Lockhart when he should be well aware of how he’s a fraud?
If you think about it for more than a minute or so, the whole plot starts to fall apart. But it’s still a fun movie to watch and it looks great, so it’s going to go right here.
Goblet of Fire
By all accounts, this should be the best Harry Potter movie. Harry gets put into a super dangerous magic tournament against his will! He has to deal with dragons and killer mermaids and a giant death made! Then Voldemort gets revived and everything goes to hell!
Unfortunately, the moving pieces of the story itself are either underwritten or over focused on. The entire Bartee Crouch subplot feels like a giant waste of time and only serves to erase all of the character development Mad-Eye Moody has. None of the other contestants get much screen time to become actual characters, not even Cedric, part of the story’s emotional core. And to top it all off, the ending is so totally dissonant that it’s jarring!
This one is still fun to watch, especially when Voldemort shows up. But it feels like the biggest bag of mixed potential in the series. It could have been the best. But as it stands, it’s just mid-tier.
Ah, the one that started it all.
This movie definitely shows its age in more ways than one. The child actors are at their most stiff and awkward here. The CGI is on par with an early PS2 game. The villain is the single most forgettable one in the entire series.
But god dammit dude, this movie is still so much fun to watch! It’s charming as hell, it nails the tone of the series, and it serves as a perfect introduction to all of these characters. It’s a movie you can watch over and over again, especially when you’re a kid.
There’s not really much to say about this one. It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s timeless. It’s easy to forget this one after watching the rest of the series, but it’s still a worthy entry.
Order of the Phoenix
A good chunk of this movie is fairly boring, in all honesty. But it has a few strong moments and characters that put it up this high for me.
First, we have Umbridge, the best villain in the series. Then we’ve got the final battle at the Ministry, featuring the battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort, the best duel in the series. And we’ve got Harry acting as the secret Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, which is super fun and fits his character incredibly well.
It’s hardly perfect. Cho Chang is a complete waste of a character. The Slytherins are completely wasted narratively. Sirius’s death rings a little hollow, as his relationship with Harry was underdeveloped.
I still enjoy rewatching this one a lot. But it’s hardly flawless.
Deathly Hallows Part 2
There’s really not much to say about this one. It’s a pretty satisfying conclusion to the Harry Potter saga. The whole thing is less a movie and more a big event. Sorta like Avengers: Endgame before that was a thing.
It’s not perfect. There are some changes from the book to the film that bother me, some character resolutions are really underwhelming, and all the deaths aside from Harry’s feel like they were done for shock value. Not to mention that the epilogue is really underwhelming.
Especially when you remember what supposedly happens afterwards in the Cursed Child. Or have we all agreed that that one isn’t a thing?
That’s about it, really. It’s basically just a big action movie and it’s pretty fun to watch. It’s a solid conclusion to a solid series.
Prisoner of Azkaban
Let’s be honest, we all knew this one would be here.
Prisoner of Azkaban works on every single level. The script is incredible. The visuals are phenomenal! The performances are strong all around, especially from the adult actors! Even separate from Harry Potter, this is a rock solid, incredible movie!
Not only that, but it’s one of the only movies in the series that’s actually better than the book! It adds tons of fun scenes that build on the story that weren’t in the book! The frog choir scene, the boys goofing off while the Dementors loom outside the window, Hermione decking Malfoy in the face, the list goes on!
You could detach this movie entirely from the rest and it would still be an incredible film. It’s an incredible fantasy film that works on every level. It’s the only one in the series that is enjoyable from beginning to end. I genuinely love this movie and I can watch it any day of the week.
Not that I do. When I watch one Harry Potter film, I find the need to watch them all.
Like I said earlier: this list is entirely subjective. Honestly, these movies are all so close in quality that this list could look completely different depending on who you ask. It’s entirely opinion based rather than critically based.
Which is why I’m asking you guys! Which Harry Potter film is your favorite? Disagree with me entirely and love Half-Blood Prince? Chamber of Secrets work for you? Feel free to let me know, I’m genuinely really curious!
With that, we’re done with the Harry Potter movies! What an odd and fun little retrospective this proved to be! Yes, we can all agree that the author is an insufferable transphobic asshole. But I’ll be damned if she didn’t create something truly iconic and lovable!
And now, I need to decide which big franchise I’m gonna bully next. Maybe I’ll take a trip back to Camp Half-Blood. Or maybe I’ll settle yet another of my personal demons. Or maybe I’ll start something all-new, I dunno. The future holds limitless possibilities!
Just so long as none of them involve little wizard boys. I’ve had enough of those for a while.