Rotten Tomatoes‘ Consensus:
“Darker and livelier than the first Harry Potter, but much of what’s wrong with the first movie is also present here.”
Chamber of Secrets is my favorite book of the first four Harry Potter adventures. I loved the way that everything fit together in regards to the mystery and suspense of the story. As a result, a high degree of expectation was set upon the film adaptation. The second film of the Harry Potter series draws a high degree of similarities to the first film, which full picture is both a blessing and a curse.
With the main focus of the second film surrounding the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, the film does a good job putting the pieces together and closely following the book, but at times follows the slower pieces of the film a little too closely. These drawn out periods of dialogue and fan-boy pleasing filler space don’t ruin the film, but do hold back what it could have been.
This was Chris Columbus’ last attempt at the Harry Potter franchise, and a primary reason behind this comes from the kid-friendly nature of the first two films. After Chamber, the series gets dramatically darker, and the carbon copies that the first two films are wouldn’t work with Prisoner of Azkaban. Columbus did a great job getting the franchise started but he definitely ran his course, and the franchise was honestly much better off.