What a shame that author JK Rowling only outed headmaster Albus Dumbledore after her seven-book cycle was done and dusted. A Gay Pride march might have been just the thing to enliven what is undoubtedly the least eventful Potter flick to date.
That’s because, for all its shadowy intrigues, romantic subplots and queasy atmosphere of escalating dread, Order Of The Phoenix doesn’t give new director David Yates much to work with. It’s as much down to necessity as invention, then, that the State Of Play bloke scales back the set-pieces in favour of character interaction – a wise decision given the larger part Gary Oldman’s Sirius Black plays in proceedings. The actor’s scenes with Master Radcliffe are easily the strongest here, proof that Dan’s incremental improvement over the five movies to date is down to osmosis as much as maturity. Thanks, too, to Imelda Staunton for gifting the series another memorable grotesque in matronly dictator Dolores Umbridge.
Overall, though, Phoenix can’t shake the feeling that the franchise is merely catching its breath in preparation for the blowout to come.