Director: David Yates
Your lovable trio: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Richard Harris's replacement: Michael Gambon
Snape: Alan Rickman
Neville Longbottom: Matthew Lewis
Draco: Tom Felton
The tall twins: James and Oliver Phelps
Voldemort: Ralph Fiennes
Only in the movie to get killed: Helena Bonham Carter
In order of importance:
8. Prisoner of Azkaban
What really happens in Azkaban? Sirius Black. Werewolves. The patronus spell is introduced.
7. Order of the Phoenix
Voldemort has influence over Harry's mind--the mental relationship is developed and plays important roles in the next three films. The first outright battle between "good" and "evil". Voldemort's return is made public.
6. Deathly Hollows Pt. 1
I would have ranked this lower if DH Pt. 1 wasn't essential to DH Pt. 2. The movie suffers from being caught in the middle. Emotionally, it's a reaction to the events in The Half-Blood Prince. And the plot is merely a set-up for DH Pt. 2: it explains the Deathly Hallows, and the Sword of Godric Gryffindor returns.
5. Chamber of Secrets
Introduces Ginny Weasley and her (and Ron's) father, Arthur; Lucius Malfoy; the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. All of whom/which have major roles in the series. Myrtle plays a part in the fourth film, while the basilisk is helpful in the last. We won't know what a Horcrux is until the 6th movie, but Chamber shows us the first one: Tom Riddle's diary. Parseltongue is the first manifestation of the bond between Harry and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
4. Half-Blood Prince
Solidifies the love stories: Harry with Ginny, Ron with Hermione. Malfoy, who had always been Harry's nemesis, finally joins the Death Eaters, thus concluding a character progression introduced in the first film. Snape, who has been mysteriously playing both sides throughout the series, finally reveals his allegiance. Dumbledore's death is an emotional climax but also means Harry is without his greatest teacher and must, henceforth, rely on himself and his friends more than ever before. The situation of Dumbledore's murder is an important plot point in DH Pt. 2, because it directly impacts the power of the Elder Wand. And we also learn what a Horcrux is.
3. Philosopher's Stone
The first film. It begins everything.
2. Deathly Hollows Pt. 2
The last film. The story is concluded.
1. Goblet of Fire
The fourth film is a tipping point. In GoF, Voldemort goes from rumor to reality. The games of the Triwizard Tournament end with the series' first death of a "good" character, a Hogwarts student. Harry and Ron have their first rift. The students have their first dance which initiates the characters' romantic rumblings. They also learn of the three Unforgivable Curses, specifically, the Avada Kedavra, a blast that kills its target (and will kill several in the movies that follow). Critics praise the Harry Potter series for how it grows darker over time thus becoming more and more adult. Well Goblet of Fire is when the tonal shift occurs. It bridges the stumbling innocence of the first three films to the panting maturation of the latter four. In a way unlike any of the other movies, it's an ending and a beginning.
My personal order:
8. Order of the Phoenix
7. Deathly Hollows Pt. 1
6. Philosopher's Stone
5. Half-Blood Prince
4. Deathly Hollows Pt. 2
3. Chamber of Secrets
2. Goblet of Fire
1. Prisoner of Azkaban
Did I Like It:
I enjoyed it. But I wouldn't say it's a great movie. The only reason it's so high on my list is because Emma Watson is an adult and gorgeous. Why isn't Part 1 higher then? Because I REALLY disliked Part 1.
I'm not a fan of the David Yates directed Potters. I think the first four had a lot of depth and exploration. Things unfolded. Yates may have made the movies more "gritty" and "mature" but I find them shallower. Less time investigating = less marination of plot = a quicker overall pace (this is just my sense of the Yates movies). If you look at the running times, the first Yates movie, Order of the Phoenix, was 19 minutes shorter than the previous movie (Goblet of Fire). I thought Phoenix felt really rushed. Hollows Part 2 is 8 minutes shorter than Phoenix!
I think a lot of critics are giving it a pass simply because it's a culmination of so much. You can't deny it brings the story to a point of closure. And that's nice.
I wish the movie were taken down a notch and would spend more time explaining, more time developing situations and building tension, and have more involvement with the supporting characters. As is, I think it relies too much on the previous films to give it context, stakes, and heart. The only plot contained and developed solely in Part 2 is that of the dragon guarding the VIP vaults of Gringotts bank. We're told the dragon was Pavlov'ed into associating pain with the noise from these mechanical widgets, so the characters use, to Hermione's concern, the widgets to scare the dragon into a corner and proceed to the vault. When the guards come looking for our trio, Hermione jumps to the dragon's back, beckons Ron and Harry to follow, then frees the fire-breather. Away they go.
So yeah, Part 2 is cool because it wraps everything up. But I think it's weakly plotted and directed. The actors give it their all though. Many loved this movie and will love this movie. I don't. But, in contrast to Order of the Phoenix and Part 1, I can't not like it.
What It's Good For:
-concluding the series
-Harry Potter fans
-the whole family
-watching a movie run headlong
-relies too much on previous movies to provide conflict
-not a good entry point to the Harry Potter movie franchise
-if you hate other Harry Potter movies, this is another Harry Potter movie
% Character / % Actor's personality or previous roles
I don't see a point in doing this.
-Other movies featuring wizards: Monty Python and the Holy Grail; The Lord of the Rings trilogy; The Raven; Excalibur; The Wizard of Oz
-Other blockbuster family-fare series: Toy Story; Star Wars; Shrek; The Chronicles of Narnia