In 2001 Warner Bros. released the first film adapted from the Harry Potter books. Directed by Chris Columbus, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was a critical and box office success. Ten years, three directors, and seven films later, the hugely popular film franchise comes to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
Picking up when the previous film left off, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends continue to lick their wounds and mourn their losses as Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), now armed with the elder wand, begins preparing for the final battle. And where better for that battle to take place than Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?
Aside from the conclusion of Harry’s battle with You-Know-Who, the series also wraps up several other stories including finally getting Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) together, the evolution of Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) into a hero, and examination of the motives of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman).
Although no stranger to pain or death, this final film is the darkest of the series as Harry will see many of his closest friends fall in battle as Harry is forced to confront the cost of his war with Voldemort, come to terms with his destiny, and face the dark wizard one-on-one. It’s a good thing kids have grown up with the series because the final installment (Rated PG) isn’t for the youngest fans.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 isn’t the best movie of the franchise, but it’s also not the worst. Although it’s a slight step down from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (mainly due to having so much story left to cram in a single film), it proves to be a good bookend to the series and should satisfy most fans.
Director David Yates packs as much story and action as he can into this final installment which includes the destruction of all the remaining Horcruxes, a break-in at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, a climactic last stand between Harry’s friends at Hogwarts and the forces of Voldemort, and, finally, the battle between Harry Potter and the man who killed his parents.
As a film by itself Part 2 is heavy on action and ending several storylines, sometimes even at the expense of character. Part 1 had several small moments allowing the characters a chance to breathe while reminding us why we should care about them. The structure of Part 1, given the characters aimless wandering and general feeling of being lost, fit these scenes much better than the far more plot driven finale, but there are opportunities in the sequel (such as Harry’s return to Hogwarts) which feel far more rushed than the previous film.
The special effects and look of the film are once again top notch, and the 3D, although not necessary to fully enjoy the experience, does add rather than detract from the story. As for the acting, by this point in the series you’re either on-board with the three young actors who have grown up before our eyes, and their ever-increasing supporting cast, or your not. Odds are if you’ve gotten this far into a review of the eighth film in the franchise you’re more than willing to look over some of the franchise’s rougher edges.
Even with some minor complaints, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is an easy recommendation. It may not be all I wanted in a grand finale, but it does justice to the characters and is a fitting farewell to a movie franchise that an entire generation may look back as fondly on as I do Star Wars. Well done, Harry. Well done.