6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Franchise Entry No. 6
The sixth movie in the franchise is widely acknowledged as one of its darkest. Following on from The Order of the Phoenix, the character development in The Half-Blood Prince shines, as we watch the famous trio come into their own whilst preparing for their fight against Voldemort. The Malfoys and Weasleys also play a huge part in this film, with everything (narrative, character arcs, themes and tone) starting to come together for the impending finale.
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Franchise Entry No. 4
The Goblet of Fire seems to be often overlooked, when in fact it offers some fantastic cinematic and narrative details.
This is where the series gets really dark for the first time, with the frightening Triwizard Tournament, the first on-screen death and the first introduction of Voldemort in his full form. Harry learns the significance of his connection to Voldemort, as well as the truth of his allies and enemies. Roger Lloyd-Pack, Robert Pattinson, Brendan Gleeson and David Tennant add some more high quality British-ness to this fourth movie, too, making for a very good albeit often overlooked Harry Potter film.
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4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Franchise Entry No. 3
Although met with criticism due to its lack of loyalty to the book, The Prisoner of Azkaban proves to be an incredibly entertaining film and the start of the maturing of the franchise from childhood classic to something more angsty and dark. Werewolves, dementors and truths about Harry’s past are revealed as The Boy Who Lived enters his teenage years. The introduction of legendary British actors Gary Oldman, David Thewlis and Emma Thompson increase engagement and each bring their own unique brand of talent to the release, while Alfonso Cuaron’s directorial style grounds the film in a darker colour palet, providing an important visual departure from Chris Columbus’ first two films.