Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Brimming with invention and new ideas, and its Hogwarts School seems to expand and deepen before our very eyes into a world large enough to conceal unguessable secrets -- What a glorious movie.
  2. It's definitely an enchanting spectacular for Potter fans anxious to ride the Hogwarts Express toward a new year of magic and mischief.
  3. Best of all, the second Potter movie reunites its adult cast: Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, John Cleese, Alan Rickman, Julie Walters and others -- a veritable Who's Who of British actors that single-handedly elevates the proceedings out of the kid's movie genre into something special.
  4. And among the things this ''HP'' does very well indeed is deepen the darker, more frightening atmosphere for audiences of all ages already familiar with the intricacies of the ''Potter'' landscape. (This is as it should be: Harry's story is supposed to get darker.)
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Darker and more dramatic, this account of Harry's troubled second year at Hogwarts may be a bit overlong and unmodulated in pacing, but it possesses a confidence and intermittent flair that begin to give it a life of its own apart of the literary franchise, something the initial picture never achieved.
  6. 80
    Columbus beautifully realizes many of Rowling's fantastic conceits -- but for the last hour I was searching for a spell to make the credits appear.
  7. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Has its flaws, but it's better, as well as darker, than the first. It's also longer, by nine minutes, but hold that protest to the Kidney Foundation; the time flies, albeit in fits and starts, like players on a Quidditch field.
  8. 75
    A fun, fantastic adventure, but, watching it, I had the sense that it could have been even better than it is. I was diverted and entertained, but never truly absorbed.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Moves the franchise even closer to Indiana Jones territory, with bloodcurdling action scenes and a passel of climactic computer-generated slime beasties unparalleled in their potential ability to -- I'm quoting from both book and film here -- '' rip, tear, rend, kill. ''
  10. The Chamber of Secrets -- darker, scarier and somewhat better than "Sorcerer's Stone."
  11. Plusses and minuses work out about evenly, if you compare the sequel to "Sorcerer's Stone." The three young leads act with more assurance; Radcliffe emerges as a leader, rather than one leg of a triangle. (Too bad he no longer expects to make all seven of the proposed pictures.)
  12. There's a missing element whose absence, forgive me, I can't help but lament. This is a movie about magic that ultimately lacks the magic of movies."
  13. 70
    Columbus' sequel is faster, livelier and a good deal funnier than his original, due to the presence of some new characters.
  14. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    Chamber's charm lies in the sheer visualization of Rowling's weirder inventions: pots of shrivel-phizzed screaming treelets, Harry's arm gone boneless from a bungled spell, a scolding letter from home that leaps to life as a yapping paper mouth.
  15. While this is just as long as the first film, more convincing special effects help make time fly.
  16. Nothing from the book is left to wither away. That should please the vast reading audience that'll watch the movie.
  17. Columbus never quite captures the depth, the rich complexities of Rowling's novels. She's written four Harry Potter books for kids that adults swoon for, too. Columbus has made two Harry Potter movies for kids … and we'll leave it at that. That isn't bad. But I suspect there's something better just around the bend.
  18. Chamber is chockablock with action (including a far more exciting game of Quidditch) and crafty special effects.
  19. 63
    Screenwriter Steve Kloves still seems overly dedicated to cramming in every detail of J.K. Rowling's novel - while tacking on a schmaltzy Hollywood ending.
  20. 63
    Doesn't feel quite so lengthy as its predecessor. And while it still falls short of becoming the classic fans so badly want it to be, the film is livelier and better overall than "The Sorcerer's Stone."
  21. Scenes that should have been cut are included, so as not to disappoint anyone. What could have been a small, sweet and genuinely scary film is instead a full hour too long and many millions too fat.
  22. 63
    It remains an expertly assembled companion piece to its source material, with charms you can't overlook. But the great Harry Potter should be casting a more powerful spell.
  23. 63
    Drags on and on and could frighten little kids. But Kenneth Branaugh is one bright light in Chamber of Secrets.
  24. The film's scary moments are too monstrous and its happy times have too much idiotic beaming, making the film feel like the illegitimate offspring of "Alien" and "The Absent-Minded Professor."
  25. 60
    May just be the most quintessential Steven Spielberg movie Steven Spielberg never made.
  26. By the end, instead of feeling stirred to a high pitch of anxiety and excitement, you may feel battered and worn down. But not, in the end, too terribly disappointed.
  27. 60
    A well-chosen cast helps make the wild notions convincing, and director Chris Columbus presents it all in an attractive, thoroughly watchable package. But try imagining a universe in which the Harry Potter series existed only in film form.
  28. This time around, Harry Potter has more to worry about than the Dark Arts -- though parts of The Chamber of Secrets are spellbinding, he seems to be suffering from a bit of sequelitis.
  29. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Not much in the way of captivating magic, but all the expected notes are duly played. Hope springs eternal for the next film in the series, though: Columbus is handing the reins over to Alfonso Cuaron, an actual movie director.
  30. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Before it degenerates into Indiana Potter and the Chamber of Doom, the movie holds promise -- it hints at why the Harry Potter movies aren’t half as wonderful as they ought to be, why they feel created from the outside in. Magic isn’t made by committee.
  31. 50
    After its deceptively fleet opening 20 minutes or so, Chamber of Secrets settles into a plodding amble, a rickety framework in which many allegedly exciting things happen -- and are forgotten only minutes later.
  32. It's fun to see the regular gang on hand for new adventures, joined by fresh characters who add touches of novelty and spice. But the secrets in this chamber aren't all that amazing once you get a glimpse of them.
  33. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    I can't think of a movie this long that has left me so starved for a movie.
  34. 40
    With “Chamber of Secrets,” all we get is a f____ "Scooby Doo" episode. Boo on everyone involved...BOOOOOOOO!
  35. Big, dull and empty -- nobody associated with this production appears to have thought hard about storytelling.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 531 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 147
  1. Sep 23, 2011
    The movie isn't what you expect if you waited for a another marvelous Harry Potter film. However, it still has impressive visuals and and wellThe movie isn't what you expect if you waited for a another marvelous Harry Potter film. However, it still has impressive visuals and and well made CGI creature...DOBY!!!! Full Review »
  2. Nov 14, 2010
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second out of the eight films, but this and the first would be the only ones that actuallyHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second out of the eight films, but this and the first would be the only ones that actually makes sense and do not feel jumpy. Someone who has read all the novels would have no problem decyphering the other Harry Potter movies, but this is one of the few that will be easy to follow even by non-Harry Potter fans. It may not be a completely enjoyable film, but this is because it is aimed a slightely younger and less age-ranged target audience. Still, it will keep you interested from beginning to end, and don't forget it has Dobby! Full Review »
  3. Dec 17, 2011
    With it being even longer, and lacks some adventure, the film has good performances, thrills and a strong story making it somewhat anWith it being even longer, and lacks some adventure, the film has good performances, thrills and a strong story making it somewhat an improvement and somewhat not. I give this film an 82% of a good movie. Full Review »