Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011, dir. David Yates)

Matters converge: a final stand at Hogwarts against Voldemort. The last part of the eight-film cycle delivers in terms of epic action sequences, resolutions for characters followed over multiple movies, and a decent coda; no real surprises, and nothing for outsiders, which is perhaps as it should be.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010, dir. David Yates)

Harry and friends, now on the run, must destroy the magical items sustaining Voldemort. The first half of the final novel – more or less – is a decent chase adventure, with a darker tone than before; the splitting of the source material allows for pacing to be improved, through the structure necessitates a forced cliffhanger bridge to Part 2.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009, dir. David Yates)

Battle lines are drawn between Voldemort’s followers and others; Harry’s studies are supported by a mysterious textbook. Decent series entry, concerned with putting pieces in place for the final conflict. Not really a stand-alone movie, but series fans won’t mind that at all.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007, dir. David Yates)

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 Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005, dir. Mike Newell)

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.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, dir. Alfonso Cuaron)

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.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018, dir. David Yates)

After Grindelwald escapes, Newt Scamander is asked to track him and the still-alive Clarence down. Patchy Part II of the Harry Potter prequel series has too much set-up and not enough story, and some awkwardness with character and plot inconsistencies. For indulgent fans only.