Now sprawling into two film franchises, the Wizarding World has amassed an impressive ten films and stonking box office record.
With the latest entry currently in cinemas, it’s time for a ranking! Let us know if you agree in the comments.
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Far and away the weakest entry in the Wizarding World would be the latest.
Not quite a stinker, The Crimes of Grindelwald lacks energy and makes up for it by laying on the plot.
For general audiences, this one’s too confusing. For hardcore fans, the plot holes and contradictions grate.
9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
There’s a lot to love about the Chamber of Secrets – Dobby, Lockhart and hello to Jason Isaacs – but compared to all that followed, it is a little slow at almost three hours long.
Taking the same methodical approach as he did with the Philosopher’s Stone, director Chris Columbus stuck religiously to the book at his own detriment.
Had Columbus stayed on board for part three, the franchise would likely have begun to drag.
8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
So epic and all-encompassing was Rowling’s final Potter book that there could only be one satisfactory way to translate it to film: make it into two films.
In hindsight, the move paid off big time – see later in the list – but at the time, many considered Part 1 somewhat underwhelming.
Sure, it’s beautifully filmed and often entertaining but there’s a spark missing. This one suffers from the sense that it’s all set-up, no climax.
7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Four Weddings and a Funeral director Mike Newell took the franchise down much maturer avenues for its fourth film.
Screenwriter Steve Kloves had a mammoth task in adapting J. K.’s first doorstop book and it does occasionally show in the film’s pacing and absences.
That said, the visuals for this one were stronger than before and the world building at its most exciting. It also gave us Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort so thank you.
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
For our money, the Order of the Phoenix is Rowling’s weakest Potter book and so David Yates did sterling work with writer Michael Goldenberg in turning out so terrific a film.
Harry’s angst will always hold this one back from the upper echelons of Potter rankings but the effects were special indeed.
Order of the Phoenix pips Goblet of Fire for us, however, due to the glorious performances of franchise newcomers Imelda Staunton and Helena Bonham Carter. That, and the improved hair-cuts.
5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Peter Jackson eat your heart out. If it was an achievement to spin a trilogy from ‘The Hobbit’, to spin a five film epic out of micro-mock-text book ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is something else.
Well cast and brimming with delightful creative energy, this first Potter spin-off was an adventure to be cherished.
From the cute antics of Rowling’s Nifflers to Newt’s Mary Poppins inspired briefcase, Fantastic Beasts proved that the Wizarding World still had much to offer.
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
How easy it would have been for the Half-Blood Prince to lack lustre as the sixth ‘back-to-school’ entry in the series.
Instead, David Yates’ second franchise film excelled as the funniest, the most emotionally involving and most stylish to-date.
Boasting tremendous performances all-round, the film worked on its own terms and as a perfect set-up to the final acts.
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
With all due respect to Columbus, Yates and Newell, Alfonso Cuarón remains the Wizarding World’s most exciting director so far.
Much spikier than its predecessors, the Prisoner of Azkaban had verve and style in abundance, not to mention a strong turn by Gary Oldman.
John Williams added more energy to his already iconic soundtrack and the young leads came into their own.
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
The one that started it all had a lot riding on it. Thanks to interventions by Rowling, producer David Heyman and a clutch of industry officials, the film retained the Britishness of its source, whilst perfectly capturing its magic.
Each role was exquisitely cast – from Harris and Smith down to Radcliffe, Grint and Watson – with the book’s invention faithfully translated.
Williams’ score is gorgeous and the film holds up as a charming and thoroughly magical treat, bested only by…
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
We’ll be the first to admit that the success of final Potter film largely roots in the seven films that preceded it providing so strong a build up. However, that’s not to deny that the film is a triumphant cinematic achievement in its own regard.
Epic, heartbreaking and nostalgic by equal measure, the film dazzles from start to extraordinary end. There’s magic here but complex drama too, combining to create a monumental finale.
Expectation was high and boy did the Wizarding World deliver. It remains to be seen whether Fantastic Beasts can come close to this one.