Scott, Jay, and I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix (IMDB.com) yesterday. My boss took her eight-year-old grandson on opening day earlier this week. He did not review the movie well, "It was BOOOORRRING." So, I was expecting the movie to be much darker and less action-orientated.
I've only seen one of the four prior Harry Potter movies, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and parts of the other three movies. I'm not familiar with all of the Potter mythology and didn't realize the movies were set dreary, ordinary present day. So not only was the movie darker, but also more real. Adding to the realism was a surprisingly poorly done broomstick flight through the London skyline. We also see the very real political inner workings of the wizard bureacracy.
Imelda Staunton (from 2004's excellent Vera Drake) practically steals the movie as party loyalist Dolores Umbridge. Her terrifically pink wardrobe and stereotypical Republican-ist legalism portrays the icy heartlessness we all suspect are hidden inside most political conservatives.
It was a little startling how significantly the actors aged from the prior movie. Not to be cruel, but Scott and I both wonder if Maggie Smith would be able to finish the series.
Overall, Scott and I both felt the movie mentioned so many characters, but never told their stories. It felt like the movie was unfinished. As part of a series of movies, it should be expected that a lot of material will be covered in the next movies. However, as a stand alone movie, it has its moments, but seems to have a lot missing.