Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (B+)

I might be one of only a handful of people on planet Earth who have never read one word of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of books. Let’s just get that out of the way right now, because you need to know where my opinions are coming from. Unlike the hordes of Harry Potter fans, during the movies I don’t pick up on all the little ins and outs and various wizard secrets. People are laughing and crying and I’m staring at the screen straight-faced and scratching my head. And that’s okay, because fortunately for moviegoers, you don’t have to read the books to enjoy the movies, especially the last three or four. Besides, let’s be perfectly frank, hating Harry Potter in any way, shape or form is akin to hating bunnies, sunshine, rainbows and apple pie. It’s just not something anyone with a pulse can pull off. The Harry Potter movies are fantastic and the final movie, The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is the perfect conclusion to this epic franchise.

When we last left Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) in The Deathly Hallows – Part 1, they were on the run from Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), learning about Horcruxs, finding swords at the bottom of lakes, and discovering the legend of the Deathly Hallows, i.e. the Cloak of Invisibility, the Resurrection Stone and the Elder Wand. The movie ended with Dobby taking one for the team and Voldemort rifling through Dumbledore’s tomb in search for the Elder Wand. In a nutshell, things were looking pretty gloomy. Guess what? Things don’t get much better when The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 opens, and I’m not talking about the absurd 3D the studio decided to slap onto the movie (for shame!).

Harry knows Voldemort has the Elder Wand and receives some crucial wand guidance from one of the people they rescued from Malfoy Manor, Ollivander (John Hurt), who explains Draco Malfoy’s (Tom Felton) wand has changed allegiance (from Harry to Draco). Harry also negotiates with Griphook the goblin to lead the trio into Gringotts and to Bellatrix Lestrange’s (Helena Bonham Carter) vault, where Harry knows another Horcrux is waiting. From there the three friends head to Hogsmede (where they meet Dumbledore’s grouchy brother, Aberforth) and then, with the help of Aberforth (Ciarán Hinds) and Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), they enter Hogwarts via a secret passage and the stage is set for the movie’s climatic ending. I think it’s fantastic storytelling by Rowling and impeccably fitting the movie ends at Hogwarts, arguably the center of the universe for all wizards.

From a cinephile and story standpoint, there’s not much to nitpick with The Deathly Hallows – Part 2. The movie is dark, tense and chock full of action. With that said, there are enough light moments, i.e. romance and humor, to break up the drumbeat of good versus evil and the epic conclusion we all know has been coming for ten years. And while I wasn’t a huge fan of the film’s finale scene, if this is the last we are to see of Potter and Co. (which I highly doubt), this franchise – both in print and in cinema – will never be duplicated in passion and scope. There were a lot of misty eyes and sniffles in the audience when I screened The Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and rightly so. For the average filmgoer, we move on and to other adventures. For die hard fans, the roll of the credits was akin to bidding adieu to a good friend, someone that’s been part of worldwide culture for a decade. It’s bittersweet, but as I said, fans shouldn’t feel too glum, as I don’t think we’ve seen the last whiff of Potter from Rowling or Hollywood.

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