“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” has officially been in theaters for nearly 12 hours. For those who have seen it and wiped away their cathartic tears, there’s only one thing left to do: rank all the movies in the “Harry Potter” series from best to worst.
I’ve placed mine in order; check out my list, then rank them yourself (after the jump) and see if our opinions match.
Note: There are some tiny spoilers ahead, but by now, we all know the story of the Boy Who Lived, right?
1. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005)
Perhaps I like this one best because it was the first Potter movie I saw without having read the corresponding book first. Hence, the narrative was all new to me. But I also liked the way director Mike Newell ushered our wizards into adolescence, making this installment a sort of “Harry Potter” meets John Hughes movie and demonstrating the first genuine acting muscle in our young leads.
2. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”(2004)
Slate calls the Alfonso Cuaron-directed third chapter the film that saved the Harry Potter movie franchise. It was certainly the first one that suggested the cinematic excitement and genuine fright that J.K. Rowling’s books were capable of achieving.
3. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” (2011)
Based on Rotten Tomatoes ratings, this is the best reviewed film in the series. And truly, it does hit all its marks, giving us an intense Harry/Voldemort showdown, the requisite number of tear-jerking moments and some impressive 3D. (What other movie sprinkles bits of He Who Shall Not Be Named all over you?)
4. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” (2010)
Some found this first half of the conclusion too slow and claustrophobic. But I found that the gray hues and ominous tone — we all knew what lay ahead with Harry’s nemesis — stuck with me after the credits rolled.
5. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”(2001)
Chris Columbus remained faithful to the book in this first Potter adaptation. Arguably, too faithful. But as a first glimpse of J.K. Rowling’s prose come to life, there were some genuinely thrilling moments — the boat ride to Hogwarts!; Quidditch!; our first live-action evidence that the pictures really can talk! — that made it a family-friendly classic.
6. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (2009)
A decent film but nothing objectionable. Most notable as the one where Dumbledore, sadly, dies.
7. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007)
Honestly, this whole movie is the most blurry in my mind. One positive: It brought Helena Bonham Carter as the freaky Bellatrix. Another: Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge. Still, not enough to elevate its status within the franchise.
8. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002)
Dobby at his most irritating and director Chris Columbus at his least interesting. In my mind, this is the worst of the lot.
Now it’s your turn: rank all the Harry Potter movies, from best to worst: