Saturday, November 10, 2018

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2


It took eleven years and eight movies, but the Harry Potter series finally came to a conclusion. (Well, until the Fantastic Beasts prequels, that is.) It's kind of an impressive achievement to pull off to be able to make that many movies without ever really losing momentum--especially when some other book-to-movie adaptation series don't get the chance to finish, even with less movies. But perhaps that just drives home just how big of a phenomenon Harry Potter was/is. 

Anyone who was disappointed with Deathly Hallows Part 1 due to its slower pace won't be disappointed here. The film picks up right where the last one left off (literally doing a short replay of that film's final scene), and pretty much throws us right into the action. Here, Harry Potter and company are continuing their search to destroy the remaining Horcruxes and defeat Lord Voldemort once and for all. Unlike Part 1, though, there's less searching here and a lot more battling. 

Admittedly, even the first action set piece--a heist scene of sorts--may still feel like just killing time. However, a new destination immediately emerges afterwards for the next Horcrux--Hogwarts itself. And right when they go to find it, Voldemort's forces descend upon Hogwarts to eliminate Harry once and for all--and anyone who stands in their way. 

As such, it doesn't take very long for the big battle to begin. And when it does, even though we don't actually see all of the main war taking place, the film never lets up from there. We don't get a nearly-hour-long battle like in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (and that wasn't even the final act!), but everything that happens from here out is either action or setting up for action, and the only real breaks are for plot twists and needed exposition moments. 

While the first third of the film or so is just fine as far as Harry Potter films go, what follows from there (particularly the final 45 minutes) is so good that it puts almost the entire rest of the film series to shame. Whether it's all the awesome magical battle/dueling scenes, or one of the greatest plot twists ever pulled off late in the game, or also one of the better "apparition(s)-from-the-dead" scenes ever, there's hardly anything to not like here. Yes, we could grump a bit about one of the plot points that allows Voldemort to be defeated--but in all fairness, it was kind of shaky in the book too (regarding that blasted Elder Wand). But what we're given is still so good that one can overlook a couple of the more shaky plot points. Sometimes a film's or book's conclusion can still be great or spectacular--even if it's not quite perfect. 

Probably my greatest gripe of all with this film is how they handled Dumbledore's past. For all of the good that was done by splitting the movie into two parts and not having to cut out important stuff, they still didn't really do this part well. We meet Aberforth, Albus's brother, who attempts to cast doubt in Harry's mind of Albus. And their sister, Ariana, is briefly referenced (book fans will know the importance of all this). But the situation never really comes up again. The idea that Dumbledore isn't quite the man everyone thought he was is, in my opinion, so important in the book--but they touch on it so little in both Deathly Hallows movies. 

But beyond that, there's very little negativity that can be said. This is just a stellar conclusion to a great series. Some film series have a hard time ending things on a strong note--and seldom does a final chapter actually get to be the best one of the series. But perhaps it's easier when the final book of the source material was as good as it is. 

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