Feeling a bit nostalgic? Let's take a look at the Harry Potter movies, in order of subjective preference.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004): This is a movie which demonstrates big-budget special effects franchises can be about something more. Adolescent longing and the feeling of being trapped and misunderstood pervade this story. Although a tad too long, this might well be the richest of all Potter movies in terms of themes and characters.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009): This might well be the most underrated of all the movies. One's first impression upon viewing is usually that 'nothing happens' until the end. However, repeated viewings reveal a deep tapestry of emotions and genres, ranging from romantic comedy to murder mystery.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011): Featuring some of the best scenes of the franchises, as well as conveying a sense of epic doom and wartime resilience, 'Hallows' Part 2 successfully ends the saga with a bang, which not many movie series can claim to do well enough.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005): Mike Newell's entry into the Potter canon is a solid and enjoyable film. With an enticing concept of a 'wizard's tournament', we get to see how the lead trio evolves from children into teenagers, complete with jealous rages, misunderstandings and tantrums. The only thing preventing 'Goblet' from being higher on this list is that some of the plot threads woven into the story don't fully relate to the main characters, and often feel accessory.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001): Sure, the special effects are somewhat dated and the lead trio's performances are still to be improved. Nevertheless it's easy to see how the first movie charmed audiences worldwide with its sense of awe, wonder and joy. With a horrifying villain and complex central mystery, 'Sorcerer's Stone' is an easy film to recommend, with scenes that remain iconic to this day and a simple 'dark vs light' dynamic that works very well.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010): Too much of the story is spent on showing the main characters wandering aimlessly in the woods, staring at each other and lamenting the loss of innocence engendered by the events of "Half-Blood Prince.' What we get in an uneven but still enjoyable arthouse movie of the road trip variety.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007): Similarly to 'Hallows' Part 1, 'Phoenix' seems to argue that the wizarding world is turning darker by the minute. Most of this is contextual information, with lots of plot exposition and secondary villains that don't really accentuate the main story. 'Phoenix' showcases lots of epic battles that don't seem to impact the characters in a meaningful way.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002): 'Chamber' isn't a bad movie. It is, however, too long and spends much of its running time away from the central story. The special effects in this movie are more advanced, and have aged better than those in the first one. Yet, this isn't enough to keep an older viewer engaged beyond the first or second viewing.