Tomorrow Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore hits theaters. It’s the third film in the Fantastic Beasts series, but the 11th in the larger Harry Potter extended universe. If you’re like me, when a new film pops, it’s time to dive into what came before. Below is my personal ranking of all 10 previous films, in ascending order. Happy re-watching!
10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)
About: This second Fantastic Beasts movie was one I looked forward to seeing. What we got was, well, a bummer. It felt overly long, the story seemed to meander and it just didn’t work. Some of the magic flew out of the franchise. Let’s hope tomorrow’s film gets it back on track.
9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
About: I’m on record as saying I wasn’t taken with the Harry Potter franchise at first. It felt like a kid’s movie. Having not read the books, I didn’t realize that was the point. Anyway, there is more charm for me with the first than the second installment. It’s not bad, just never been my favorite.
8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
About: This was the introduction to the world and characters. It was unlike anything I’d seen and I have always enjoyed it for what it is. It wasn’t until Harry got older and the tone of the films began to shift that I started to really enjoy the franchise.
7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
About: There’s a tier break for me that begins here. I’d say from this point on, the films all have a different appeal to me. However, I don’t love the darker tones in this film. Child torture is tough to watch—and should be—so this one has always been less appealing to me.
6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
About: This third film in the franchise felt different. I enjoyed the more mature tone and the work from director Alfonso Cuaron, who has always been a favorite. This was the film where I started to see Harry Potter as something different. Let’s say the franchise hooked me with this one.
5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
About: This created a different kind of world. I enjoy Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), but it’s the supporting characters from Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol that really endear the film to me. I loved the magical world and the promise here. Colin Farrell is also quite good, and it’s disappointing that he doesn’t return.
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1 (2010)
About: The beginning of the end. This is the first of the two-part finale made of the final book. It doesn’t have a lot of resolution, but it has some wonderful character moments. It’s really a beautiful film that gets better the more often I see it.
3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
About: This film is a lot of fun. The Tri-Wizard tournament was a turning point for me. I was fully invested in the characters and the world. The competition is thrilling and the ending is surprising and emotionally engaging. I think this might be one of the most under-rated films in the franchise.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 (2011)
About: The end of the franchise. A lot of weight was put on this film and it delivers. There are so many epic and iconic scenes, and the final battle at Hogwarts is gripping, engaging and emotional. It’s a beautiful film and a beautiful way to wrap up the franchise.
1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
About: I love teen dramas, and this is the film in the franchise that most resembles that. Sure, the mystery is deepening. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is doing things with Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), and the emotional climax of the film is devastating. But it’s also the most fun and, for me, the funniest of the films. I love the relationship drama that breaks up the more tense storylines. It’s always been my favorite of the franchise.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.