Voldemort’s rise develops; a fightback begins. Middling fifth instalment treading water between the establishment of the nemesis as a real threat, and its crystallisation; meanwhile, Hogwarts is put into special measures. Okay for fans, and well-enough done, but no classic.
Harry is mysteriously selected to take part in a wizarding tournament at Hogwarts. Fourth and perhaps the best of the sequence, balancing a stand-alone story with the developing Voldemort narrative. Little for series entrants, but a confident and well-made movie for fans of the books and the films to date.
Potter is threatened by a notorious escaped prisoner and ally of the Dark Lord. The third in the sequence is a touch darker, expanding the movie universe away from the quest-based adventures of parts 1 and 2. A step up all around, with confident direction, better effects, and actors maturing into their roles.
A prince has to rescue a princess to save their world. Oddball SF/fantasy hybrid, riffing on a hundred different fairy tales and genre tropes. Its quest narrative/road movie structure means that it’s inevitably patchy; some dark ideas intrude, though the imagination and budget available are ill-matched, and it’s tonally all over the place.
Teens who avoid a fatal theme park accident find themselves targeted by Death. This third part avoids explicit story links to the first two, but borrows a further plot point from The Omen, and is a touch grislier and more mean-spirited than its predecessors. Some dark in-jokes lurk, though, and there’s a star-making central performance.
A generation after the events of Mary Poppins, the magical nanny returns to the Banks family, this time to help them save their home. Despite care and affection for the original, this is a reprise rather than a sequel. Emily Blunt lacks the lightness of touch of Julie Andrews, and the songs tend to the unmemorable.
In Edwardian London, a magical nanny aids a family in need. Solid musical comedy with then state-of-the-art animation/live-action hybrid sequences and practical effects. Some great songs, a sense of playfulness, and an iconic central performance. A sequel was made in 2018.