Let’s get this cleared up right off the bat: I do not hate fun. I’m not one of those people who hates on popular things to try and increase their edginess. You won’t find me writing a think-piece about why Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again signals the downfall of culture (if anything, it heightens it). But I am here to deliver a solemn message that must be delivered: the Harry Potter movies are overrated.
Whether it’s the earlier movies where Harry Potter gets three billion points for Gryffindor every time just for being Harry Potter, or the later movies where Ron’s always crying, the franchise as a whole is just fine. It’s fine. If the powers that be were to craft a 1001 Movies to Put on Your Netflix Watchlist and Maybe Watch Next Weekend but you Probably Never Will Before You Die list, all the Potters would be on there. In fact, if you run the numbers (and I have) it turns out that the most average, middle-of-the-road movie in the entire history of cinema is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
“But no, we’ve got to follow that miserable four-eyes around for 1,178 minutes”
My main gripe with the movies is that its eponymous hero, Harold Potter, is a pretty boring character to build a cultural empire upon. He’s plopped into the stream of The Chosen One, and over the course of the eight (eight!) films, drifts into the Estuary of Greatness. To round off this wet metaphor, throughout the franchise Harry Potter is mostly kept afloat by the deeds of more interesting minor characters – for example, that werewolf-man, whom the rest of the series should’ve been about. Wouldn’t that have been badass! But no, we’ve got to follow that miserable four-eyes around for 1,178 minutes.
Again, I must stress that I don’t dislike these films, I simply have total ambivalence towards them. I am quite frankly stunned at the iron-grip they hold on popular culture. Remember that movie Focus, with Will Smith and Margot Robbie? An absolutely standard movie. As forgettable as a ham sandwich. On the same level, one may say, as the majority of the Harry Potters. Now imagine if Focus held that same cultural weight as our boy HP. Imagine if everyone had Focus-themed scarves and did online tests to see which casino they’d be most suited to conning. Imagine if, ten years after Focus was released, its writer kept retroactively adding traits to characters which were not apparent in the film itself, and there’d be 60 clickbait articles about how Will Smith’s character in Focus is actually a Sagittarius. Wouldn’t that blow your mind? Wouldn’t you be compelled to write for Exeposé Online about how Focus is overrated? Now you understand my viewpoint. And you can’t argue against me because I’ve just awarded myself three billion points for writing this article.