*Ranked by Alexx whose opinion does not reflect the rest of Respawning in any way. All images for this article were sourced from the YouTube Movies YouTube channel.
It’s time for something a bit controversial, so this week and next I’m going to do the unthinkable and rank the Harry Potter films. I’ve read each of the books multiple times and watched the films more times than I can count, and having just finished watching all the films again I think it is time to decide once and for all which sit higher than the others. Which films soar through the clouds like a Hippogriff, and which must occupy the lowest spot, like Wormtail in literally any group he finds himself a part of.
The Harry Potter films are as divisive as they are entertaining when it comes to ranking them, and I don’t think I have ever heard two people rank the films in the same order. Let me know in the comments how my order of them contrasts with yours, and I will of course be doing this in reverse order, beginning with the only Potter film I actively dislike.
Spoilers for all of Harry Potter if you haven’t got to this franchise which has been finished for a decade (what’s wrong with you??!), and also my love of this series means my language is likely to get very heated very quickly so maybe don’t read if you’re a delicate flower whose easily offended.
8) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
What the fuck happened here?! Absolutely none of the Harry Potter charm made it into this film as it had into all the others, and if it isn’t obvious, that really pisses me off. The Half Blood Prince is for the most part a mess of teen angst which only serves to make me profoundly fucking irritated with the characters I’ve absolutely loved for years and years. How is it possible that Ron and Hermione have spent years trusting and supporting Harry, but the moment he makes the completely plausible (and true!) statement that he believes Draco Malfoy is now a Death Eater, they totally shoot him down and laugh it off.
Horace Slughorn, while a vital plot point in the story, lacks any self-awareness of the state of the Wizarding World around him, creating social divides with his cringy ‘Slug Club’ parties where students who aren’t invited into the club are allowed to serve those who are as fucking waiters?!! I’d be livid if I was Neville, and would have forcefully deposited that tray of drinks down Slughorn’s smug fucking throat.
The film comes to life the moment that Dumbledore and Harry leave Hogwarts to visit the cave they believe houses one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, and the ‘Lightning Struck Tower’ hits me in the feels every time. It’s such a shame the rest of the film is a horrid slog to get through to reach arguably one of the most memorable moments in book and film history!
7) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
There isn’t a great deal to say about the Order of the Phoenix. It doesn’t do much that I dislike but it doesn’t wave anything in my face that I love. The fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort at the end, and the emotional gut-punch that is the death of Sirius Black are the most memorable moments from this film, but the rest of it doesn’t do much except for setting up the final three films.
The Dumbledore’s Army scenes are all particularly great as well, though I could have done without Harry kissing Cho while she cries about Cedric. It sounds even weirder now I’m writing it like that, but I guess Harry had to kiss SOMEONE given he’s now 15 and really getting into the swing of being an angsty teen. Of course he won’t hatch from this cocoon of sadness into the proverbial butterfly of being the big moody fuck he is in the Half Blood Prince but I’ve already complained about that and it isn’t lowering my blood pressure to bring the subject up again.
6) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
My anger has subsided now, and I’m a little disgusted in myself for placing this film so low on the list. The Prisoner of Azkaban is my second favourite Harry Potter book, and the only reason it features in the third position from the bottom is purely because all the films above it are marginally better, if that wasn’t obvious.
My main gripe with the plot of this film is how cruel it is for McGonagall to deny Harry the right to visit Hogsmeade with LITERALLY every other student in his year. While it could be argued she is doing this to protect him from Sirius Black, it is highly unlikely that Sirius would attempt to attack Harry (if he is even anywhere near Hogsmeade anyway) while Harry is surrounded on all sides by dozens of students, teachers, experienced witches and wizards and last but not least by actual fucking DEMENTORS!
Remus Lupin is a phenomenal teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts, especially after the wet blanket bitch of Gilderoy Lockhart we were subjected to in the Chamber of Secrets. Lupin is an interesting, deep and complex character and I could listen to him teach for hours. If the magical equivalent of OFSTED visited a Lupin lesson then Hogwarts would certainly receive an ‘Outstanding’.
5) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Similarly to most of the films on this list, there is only one thing that I intensely dislike about this film. This time that one thing, that one smug thing, that one smug fucking thing that deserves all it gets and more is Gilderoy Lockhart. With the most punchable face in the franchise, narrowly defeating Wormtail to the top spot, it’s a shame he wasn’t brought back later to be brutally killed on screen (preferably by me).
My main issue with Lockhart, aside from his punchable face and perfect teeth is this – How the fuck did Lockhart get to be a teacher, and more to the point, WHY did he agree to be a teacher in the first place?
As the franchise’s biggest fraud, with the exception of Barty Crouch Junior, it makes no logical sense at all that he would agree to be stuck in a school where he is repeatedly scrutinised by students who likely know more than he does. Harry might only be in his second year, but the professors at Hogwarts teach their specialist subject to students of every year! Can you imagine Lockhart trying to teach advanced defensive spells to OWL or even NEWT students? Not fucking likely. If anything they would be teaching HIM the things he is supposed to teach THEM! Unless of course, and this would suit him really, if he was the sort of teacher to arrive hungover and stick a video on whilst desperately trying not to be sick behind his desk. I’m fucked off enough now so I’ll move on.
The rest of the Chamber of Secrets is everything you want from the profoundly endearing and highly re-watchable first film which only has one title and to call it anything else is fucking wrong, but more on that next week.
Harry pulling the sword of Godric Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat is one of the most exciting and memorable film moments of my childhood, and the way Harry completely disregards his own safety in his pursuit to save Ginny, his sister turned wife (gross), works so well in building on his clear bravery and devotion to his friends.
Thank you for reading part one of my potentially controversial ranking of the Harry Potter films. While it is obvious now which films will form the top half of this list I will be interested to see if you agree with the points I raise as to why they are. I’ll be back next week with part two and we will continue this then!