Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
San Jose Mercury News:
It's smartly produced and slightly more streamlined than Sorcerer's Stone, its predecessor, but at almost three hours it's still too slavishly faithful to its source and will no doubt try the patience of Muggle moppets.
Detroit Free Press:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is superior to its predecessor in every way: It's more thrilling, more entertaining and, yep, more magical.
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, mostly because J.K. Rowling got all that tiresome exposition over with the first time out.
Ebert & Roeper:
Chris Columbus, the director, does a real wonderful job of being faithful to the story but also taking it into a cinematic era.
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.
Los Angeles Times:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is deja vu all over again, and while that is a cliche, nothing could be more appropriate. It's likely that whatever you thought of the first production -- pro or con -- you'll likely think of this one.
The whole Harry Potter thing may not be as fresh for moviegoers as it was last year, but thankfully Chamber of Secrets is well-crafted.
No sequelitis here, kids (and grown-ups) -- this franchise is alive and well.
Paul Clinton (CNN.com),
Once again the production values -- the sets, costumes and props -- are pure perfection.
New York Post:
Crammed full of labyrinthine plot twists, this second installment will delight Potter-crazy kids even as their parents grow restless at the 2-hour-and -41-minute running time.
New York Observer:
In all fairness, I must report that the children of varying ages in my audience never coughed, fidgeted or romped up and down the aisles for bathroom breaks.
It doesn't help that Chamber is pretty much all business from the opening shot, trading in Stone's sometimes-clunky exposition for full-steam-ahead action.
Entertaining and moves nimbly enough to keep your way-back seat from turning to stone.
J. R. Jones,
Like many children I've met, director Chris Columbus seems never to have heard the word no.
This movie, like the first, is more of a translation than an adaptation. It's the visual equivalent of an audio book, slightly abridged.
Not only are the special effects and narrative flow much improved, and Daniel Radcliffe more emotionally assertive this time around as Harry, but the film conjures the magic of author J.K. Rowling's books.
Dallas Morning News:
As The Empire Strikes Back was to Star Wars, so Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is to last year's freshman introduction. In short, it's bigger and better.
Chris Columbus' sequel is faster, livelier and a good deal funnier than his original.
Ironically enough, Chamber of Secrets has more of a narrative arc, but consequently lacks much urgency. It does retain the wonderment that made the first film fun.
Before it degenerates into Indiana Potter and the Chamber of Doom, the movie holds promise.
Two down, presumably five to go, and already the franchise is entering dangerous territory: if you aren't one of the many who know their Harry Potter chapter and verse, prepare for a nap.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
Represents a lost opportunity to give children, not to mention adults, a movie experience that would widen their eyes as the justly beloved Rowling books did.
New York Daily News:
Radcliffe, 3 inches taller and an octave lower than last year, is growing comfortably into his character, as is Watson, the fetching and confident Hermione.
As a companion piece to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets makes for effective viewing.
Once again, director Chris Columbus takes a hat-in-hand approach to Rowling that stifles creativity and allows the film to drag on for nearly three hours.
Despite terrific special effects and funnier gags, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets finds a way to make J.K. Rowling's marvelous series into a deadly bore.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Just as often the film is as monotonous and despair-inducing as three hours on an airplane with nothing to read but the in-flight magazine.
I can't think of a movie this long that has left me so starved for a movie.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets works the kind of magic that Hollywood rarely displays: It's a sequel that's better than the original.
Much of what made the first film so enchanting remains firmly in place, from the strong ensemble performances through Stuart Craig's magnificent production design.
The franchise is safe! Columbus' second alchemical movie ups the thrill quotient to satisfy the faithful. There's more action, and it's scarier.
Just as there is more magic conjured up in Chamber of Secrets the book, Chamber of Secrets the movie weaves a more powerful spell over its audience.
It is on every count a better movie than last year's first film installment.
Chamber's charm lies in the sheer visualization of Rowling's weirder inventions.