The Harry Potter franchise was as successful in movie theaters as it was in book stores. Much of the credit can be attributed to J.K. Rowling, who mastered the technique of telling stories that build upon each other, while simultaneously standing on their own. A feat that translated extremely well to cinema, much to everyone’s satisfaction. Let’s go through my rankings of the Harry Potter films from worst to best.
The second movie winds up dead last on my list. Although it is a fun and contained little mystery, this is simply a case of cons outweighing the pros. More so than others in the franchise, this movie is riddled with plot conveniences while not adding much substance to the world. It’s not bad overall, it’s just not nearly as magical as the movies around it.
The sixth movie is good and filled with suspense, but it ends up at #7 on my list. I generally think the franchise gets better over time, but this one’s low rank should tell you just how good some of these other movies are. I think this one looks fantastic, but ultimately spends too much time on Ron and Hermione’s relationship.
The seventh movie is also very well directed, but it suffers from painstakingly slow plot progression. Although the source material is a 759 page novel, some moments feel stretched in order to justify splitting the story into two parts. It does have exciting elements, but it struggles to stand on it’s own without the second part.
The fourth film ends up at #5 on my list, just nearly cracking the top half of heavy hitters of the series. Goblet of Fire is by far the most exciting movie of the series, but it also requires you to shut off your brain for the duration. Overall it’s very entertaining, but the circumstances leading to Harry competing in the Triwizard Tournament is difficult to believe, even in a world with magic.
Starting off the top half of my rankings is none other than the movie that started it all. The Sorcerer’s Stone kicked off this juggernaut of a franchise and for the next decade, Harry Potter fans would focus on little else. The CGI is slightly dated at this point, but the score is beautiful and the story provides a solid foundation for the rest of the movies.
The fifth film of the series lands the #3 spot on my list for several reasons. For the first time, Harry Potter and his friends are left to their own devices. Unable to rely on the professors at Hogwarts to bail them out of trouble this school year. This movie also gives us the highest high of the series with the visually stunning duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
The climactic finale comes in at #2 on my list. Where Part 1 falls short, this movie pays off in a most spectacular way! Not only is it a well acted and directed film, but an emotionally satisfying conclusion to the decade long franchise.
That’s right, the third movie, Prisoner of Azkaban tops my list at #1! Time travel paradoxes aside, this movie showed us the most dramatic transformation of our three beloved heroes. Alfonso Cuarón’s bold direction of this film changed the tone and trajectory of the franchise for the better. Once innocent children, now cast into the very dangerous wizarding world…
There you have it! T-man’s definitive ranking of the Harry Potter franchise. Comment below and let me know which is your favorite and why. And as always, Happy Watching!