The new Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald movie is coming up, and if you're anything like the Harry Potter fanatic I am, you hate it when you can’t figure out all of the references and details. A marathon is all you need to catch up and remember everything for the (much worse) new movie.
The nostalgia that I feel when I watch the Harry Potter movies is unmatched by any other film. It brings me back to a time in childhood when I could let my imagination run freely and felt like I could do anything Harry did. When I was 11, I was desperately hoping for a letter from Hogwarts to come; unfortunately, it never did.
But from this place of remembered happiness that a lot of people have with the Harry Potter films, we forget that some are not the best movies. So here it is, my official ranking of all eight Harry Potter movies from worst to best:
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I may be a little biased, as this is my least favorite book, but the Chamber of Secrets as a movie also left me disappointed. Though Harry, Ron, and Hermione are still young, the movie is incredibly dark in tone, a large transition from the first film. The tonal change needed to happen at some point, but it was too fast and abrupt in this film. It also is incredibly long—the longest of the franchise—and makes the mistake of trying to fit in everything from the movies.
7. Harry Potter and the Half–Blood Prince
Something that I found that the Harry Potter movies never quite figured out how to handle was the romance, and that was a large part of this movie. Also, this film has a lot of exposition for the ending—spoiler: Dumbledore dies—that didn't entirely pay off. I liked the more comedic parts of this movie, which at some points seemed more like a dark comedy than an action movie. However, it seems to stumble between changing between the more lighthearted and darker topics.
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Goblet of Fire expands the Wizarding World in drastic ways, which has some amazing and some bad effects on the movie. The visuals are stunning, but the amount we see isn’t totally satisfying and feels quite limited. However, the Triwizard Tournament is absolutely thrilling, contains one of the most pivotal moments of the series, when Voldemort is resurrected and kills Cedric Diggory, and sets the scene for future films beautifully.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 1
When this film starts in the Muggle world, it's one of my favorite parts of any Harry Potter movie. Seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione completely out of their comfort zone has a lot of payoff in terms of seeing them as fully formed characters. However, the rest of the movie doesn't hold us as much on its own. It’s a lot of spending time in the woods, with little resolution in this movie, but it moves so well with the second part that all is forgiven.
4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
This movie gives me ALL the feels. I have seen it so many times that despite all of its flaws—and there are many—I love it more than I should. The film is a bit childish, and the dramatic reveal at the end is a bit cartoony, but overall this movie is amazing. It sets up the contrast between the Muggle and Wizarding World so well, and lays a great base for the rest of the films.
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
This film is directed by Alfonso Cuarón, and influenced the future films of the franchise. The distinct tone and color palette were established by the Prisoner of Azkaban, as well as the cinematographic style. The incredibly clear plot–line and fun nature of this film made it a winner for me. Further, the movie showing the characters determining who they were, as many teenagers do.
2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This film does not have a lot of action, making it unique among the film series. It handles the intricacies and current state of the Wizarding World well, especially in the portrayal of the corruption within the Ministry of Magic. Though the book is very long, the movie is short and does a great job of showing the most important plot lines and editing out what viewers may not need. It ends with an amazing battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort, which has amazing visual and emotional payoff.
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2
The final conclusion to the films is epic, as Harry and Voldemort face off in a high–stakes battle. Concluding any fan favorite series is an impossible task, and I think this film does an amazing job of giving every viewer what they want. Romance, action, plot—this movie does it all and does it surprisingly well. It's a beautiful, dramatic, and satisfying end for our favorite trio.