In the sixth adventure for the schoolboy wizard, Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Looks like Master Potter has his work cut out - not easy when there are all manner of distractions to keep a teenage wizard off his game! Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint knuckle down while oddball teachers, magical creatures and the special effects guys run rampant.
This is one of the most successful adaptations to date, albeit clocking in at over two-and-a-half-hours.
Teenage angst is the order of the day at Hogwarts as the kids look upon each other in a whole new light. If the opening movies were in the tone of Chris Columbus's family fare, then the latest are more like 90210 Meets Sabrinia The Teenage Witch: The Movie.
It's been just a few weeks since Harry witnessed the demise of his godfather, Sirius Black, and he's wishing away the summer months whilst traveling on random trains. Soon enough Professor Dumbledore (Gambon) comes calling, taking Harry on a trip to meet Horace Slughorn (Broadbent), a teacher Dumbledore wishes to tempt back to Hogwarts.
For Slughorn not only taught generations of wizards, including Harry's parents, but he also holds the key to killing Lord Voldemort once and for all. If only Dumbledore would tell Harry what that key is...
Meanwhile, Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) appears to have shown his true colours during a meeting with Bellatrix LeStrange (Helena Bonham Carter) - Black's murderer - in which he swears to protect Harry's enemy, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), who has been charged with a very important, and very deadly, job.
Despite being an inexperienced television director David Yates has a stronger grasp of what makes a good Potter movie than his vastly experienced predecessors. Less hung up about the particulars of the school year, Yates knows what makes a Potter movie work and happily cuts out anything that gets in the way, all the while blending special effects with the story rather than slapping them on top.
The rapidly improving young cast continues to shine - Harry's tongue-in-cheek claim to be 'the chosen one' is delivered wth true comic timing for a change - as do the likes of the ever-reliable Rickman and Gambon, and of course Bonham Carter, but it's Jim Broadbent who steals the show, somehow creating a standout character in Horace Slughorn, despite existing in an already crowded realm.
The closer the boy wizard gets to realising his destiny, the more confident the filmmaking. If the two-part finale continues on this trajectory, then the best is yet to come.