The fifth and latest Potter adaptation, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix manages to further the franchise without feeling like a retread or being weighted down by all the hype. While not quite as wonderful as the third installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, directed with magic and verve by the fabulous Alfonso Cuarón, Order holds up remarkably well – showing few signs of wear or fatigue.

The story finds Harry in his fifth year at Hogwarts in a sort of alienated outcast state, with almost no one believing his assertions that Lord Voldemort is back. Lonely and confused, Harry’s dearest friendships are tested with charges of insanity circling around him.

One of the true surprises of the series lies in the genius casting of the three young leads: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. Imagine trying to find three children who fit the roles, can act reasonably well and will grow into their parts over 10 years or so. So many child stars (children period) go through an awkward stage in adolescence that Radcliffe, Grint and Watson seem to have breezed effortlessly through.

The director of Order of the Phoenix, David Yates, manages to capture the spirit of the previous efforts while bringing an original, darker tone to the fifth film mimicking the experience of growing up and coming into knowledge. J.K. Rowling’s books themselves get darker and scarier as the tales progress, and Yates adapts perfectly. Hopefully, the series will be able to keep getting it right, against the odds, just as the author has, pleasing her fans every step of the way.

Grade: B

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is currently available.