Hollywood is built around tentpole brands. From Star Wars to Marvel, audiences always flock to the theater for the newest installments of fan-favorite franchises. It’s becoming harder and harder for movie fans to avoid joining the party, but some inevitably fall through the cracks.
Before we go any further, I have a confession: I only recently watched the “Harry Potter” series for the first time. Yes, I know I am a lousy movie buff. The series is one of the most famous of all time and is considered a must-watch for any respectable movie fan. I cannot change my past, but I can do my best to right my wrongs.
The experience of a lifetime fan and a first-time viewer are very different. I may not have a deep understanding of Wizarding World mythology. Still, I do have a fresh, unbiased perspective on the franchise’s basics that is interesting to compare to the existing consensus among fans. It is also important to note that I have no prior knowledge of the book series, so all of my thoughts are purely based on the film series.
Without further ado, here are five thoughts that I have about the “Harry Potter” franchise as a first-time viewer:
5.) Voldemort is one of the best movie villains of all time
I’m starting with some softballs. Voldemort is generally considered a fantastic villain even by the harshest of critics of the series. I had always known the legend of Voldemort since before I watched the series, but Ralph Fiennes’ performance lives up to the hype. His character design is iconic and flawless. His menacing offscreen presence is a textbook example of legend building in film.
I think the movie series does just enough to cover his origin story while also allowing people interested in the character to do additional research into the lore. After the series, Voldemort was the character I spent hours on google researching information on. I’m not a massive fan of villain origin movies, but I would advocate for a Voldemort origin film without hesitation.
4.) Harry should have ended up with Luna, not Ginny
If there’s one thing I have learned about the “Harry Potter” fandom, it’s that this is a divisive subject. Everyone has their own opinion about who Harry should have ended up with. Personally, I liked the chemistry between him and Luna. My reasoning for this is that Daniel Radcliffe has much more chemistry with Evanna Lynch (Luna) than with Bonnie Wright (Ginny,) and Luna is just way more interesting than Ginny.
Every “Harry Potter” fan who I have brought this thought up to has told me one of three things:
1.) Ginny is much better in the books
2.) Harry should have ended up with Hermione
3.) You’re right
I can concede to all of these points. I found that the “Harry Potter” franchise as a whole does not have any particularly strong romantic subplots, so I would be okay with any of the proposed mix-ups, but my vote lies with Luna and Harry.
3.) Draco needed more development
The fandom generally accepts this thought, but individual ideas on how Draco should have been handled vary from fan to fan. I have seen every idea from a redemption arc to making Draco a werewolf. I personally do not have any preference for what I would have liked to have seen from Tom Felton’s Draco.
I do not think a redemption arc is the right adjustment because it would have undercut Snape’s incredible arc. Making him a werewolf would have been exciting but also pointless to the overall story. There are a bunch of different directions that Rowling could have gone in. Still, for a character who was positioned as a primary antagonist of the series, Draco’s arc needed some adjustment.
2.) Sirius Black is severely overrated
Oops, it looks like we’re getting into hot-take territory. I want to reiterate that I have no prior knowledge of the books, so he may very well be better in the source material. Still, the cinematic version of fan-favorite character Sirius Black is extremely overrated.
This is not a knock on Gary Oldman’s performance; he does a fine job. The character is not even the worst in the series. It’s just that the point of Sirius’ existence in the series is purely to be fridged in the “The Order of the Phoenix” to develop Harry’s character arc. I fail to see what people love about him, which I think is because I had no prior connection to the character.
1.) Prisoner of Azkaban did not need to exist
This is one opinion I will not concede. The 3rd film in the “Harry Potter” series is ridiculously unnecessary. Its meaningful contribution to the series is the introduction of Sirius Black, which could have been done in a different film. All of the other relevant plot points in “Prisoner of Azkaban” could have been inserted into a different movie in the series, which would have been easy because there are not many.
Ignoring the lack of relevant plot points, “Prisoner of Azkaban” introduced several unnecessary plot holes to the series. Once J.K. Rowling decided to introduce time travel, she opened the doors to a ton of series-wide plot holes. For the rest of the series, critics were able to ask, “Why don’t they just use the Time-Turner?” and be right for asking it. The 3rd book may be different, but the movie version is just incredibly unnecessary.
For a completely different opinion on “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” check out our review:
“Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004) is one of the most beloved installments of the “Harry Potter” series, and for good reason.
Which of these do you agree with and which do you disagree with? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @Filmnetic.