First Hit: A bit confusing, despite seeing the previous films and not very well acted. Although
Daniel Radcliffe is competent in his reprise of this role, he must carry the film as the rest of the cast is becoming a backdrop.
When the series brings in or highlights a new character it often can make a film series interesting. However the Dolores Umbridge role got tiresome and I kept wondering why she was doing what she was doing. Being a mole for the ministry just wasn't enough.
I also think I am getting tired of the ongoing story. The film felt long and there were times I found myself thinking, can we move this along? This doesn’t bode well for a film. If I’m having thoughts about the film while I’m watching the film, there is a problem. The problem here was there wasn't enough story to make it interesting.
Diehard fans will probably enjoy it and take great pleasure in the film. Others who have not seen the other films and sit through this will find out early it does not stand on its own. It requires you to see the previous films or to have read the books so that you can follow along.
As a medium, any film must stand on its own merit. Each film must be a good full and interesting story. This isn't. Like a couple of the Star Wars prequels and sequels, it is difficult to do a series of films about one story. What makes this story harder is that the background changes very little. It is still about a small town in England, the Castle/School, and the surrounding woods.
A good film will let on slip reality and slide into another. This one does not do this and therefore I was disappointed. This is the worst of the bunch.
Overall: Some of the visual effects are good but to me the story and the point of the story took too long to develop and didn’t play out strongly. I may not even consider seeing the two remaining films.