1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Order of the Phoenix is the longest Harry Potter book and the shortest Harry Potter movie, and that's part of why it takes the top spot on this list. It may not be the showiest, but Phoenix is a film that knows exactly what tools it needs to tell its story, and what's better left behind. A lot of that's thanks to screenwriter Michael Goldenberg: Phoenix is the only Potter film not adapted by Steve Kloves, and the difference is remarkable. Kloves' Hermione favoritism tips the scales in her favor in the other films, but Phoenix feels like a true ensemble. Luna, Ginny, Neville, Cho, Seamus, Dean, Fred, and George all get their respective due, receding from the background to stand with Harry in solidarity after Voldemort returns and Hogwarts is infiltrated by the fascist Ministry of Magic. Unlike Kloves, Goldenberg understands the nuance of adolescent interaction, from the stubborn rivalry between Seamus and Harry, to the subtle glances of affection between Ron and Hermione at a Christmas dinner table.
The film also has a miraculous way of balancing the book's notoriously tricky material with a deft hand. Harry's moodiness is tempered and explained, unnecessary middle chapters are done away with entirely, and the final act inside the Ministry is whittled to its primal necessity. The death of Sirius is confidently effective without being overblown, and the final showdown between Dumbledore and Voldemort is sublime -- an anticipated confrontation that's brief but enormous.
But the best part of Phoenix is Imelda Staunton's Dolores Umbridge, the most horrifying Potter villain there is, including Voldemort. She's a snake in pink tweed, an advantageous xenophobe whose pure-blood privilege sees her through the ranks she'd be otherwise unqualified for. She's the Paul Ryan to Voldemort's Trump, a maniacal puppeteer of regulation and restrictive order. Phoenix balances her tyrannical rage with the solidarity of young people trapped in an oppressive institution who refuse to stay silent. It's the Potter movie with the most to say, and it says it loud and clear.