1. The start is a huge letdown following the end of the last book. It seemed like an all out war was about to start, and we cut back to Harry moping around. Sure, he fights a Dementor briefly, but very underwhelming. It takes ages to get going, this one.
2. It’s awesome to see Remus Lupin back in the story in a big way, and Thewlis’ portrayal remains one of the best parts of the film series.
3. I cannot buy Harry, and I especially cannot buy Daniel Radcliffe, as any kind of teacher, especially to contemporaries. That teaching montage scene in the movie is amongst the worst examples of Radcliffe’s acting weakness.
4. I think Umbridge is a really poor character, which seems to go against the grain somewhat. The awful personality that hasn’t stopped her getting a high ranking position, the fact she gets to physically torture students and get away with it, her role as the stereotypical, opinionated middle-class housewife – she’s Mary Whitehouse in a fantasy novel, and its utterly laughable at times.
5. Malfoy gets turned into a joke in this book/movie, as anything associated with Umbridge tends to. Thankfully, Rowling seems to have noticed this, and he gets his best chance to shine as a character in the next one.
6. The subplot regarding the Ministry ignoring the threat of Voldemort is alright, but hits the historical allegory of appeasement a bit too much. The whole “Death Eaters = Nazis” is going to be pushed hard and pushed often from now on.
7. The book/film is kind of saved by the finale, which is brilliant, especially the Voldemort/Dumbledore duel. The death of Sirius isn’t really that surprising though, since it was the exact kind of set-up that called for such a character to buy it, it was only a question of whether it would be Sirius, Remus or Arthur Weasley.
8. Seriously, her name is “Umbridge”, it’s like Rowling wasn’t even trying.