Dirty, exhausted and ready to embrace his fate, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) enters the forest for a showdown with the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes: Clash of the Titans). Most moviegoers know how the story ends, yet the movie audience gasped as the battle began. That’s the power of Potter.
Because of the fanatical devotion of readers and cinematic fans, Deathly Hallows Part 2 was almost guaranteed a wild box office success, no matter the quality of the film. In truth, Deathly Hallows Part 2 isn’t the greatest of the Potter films. That title still belongs to the dark and layered third, 2004’s Prisoner of Azkaban. But it does offer a satisfying end to the magical series that has enchanted a worldwide audience for 10 years.
Part 2 doesn’t make time for novices. It begins where Deathly Hallows Part 1 left off, with a few moments of clunky exposition before Harry and his best mates Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are off to finish their quest for the dark lord’s horcruxes, pieces of Voldemort’s soul stored in significant objects. Once the team has destroyed the horcruxes, they’ll have a fighting chance of defeating Voldemort.
To do this, they break into a vault managed by goblins, tame a dragon and return to their beloved Hogwarts Academy. Led by brave Neville (Matthew Lewis), the Hogwarts students and teachers have banded together to fight against Voldemort’s sizeable army. It looks bleak for the ragtag group.
Director David Yates, who helmed the last four Potter films, peppers plot developments with wonderful character moments for all. The problem with concluding a tale based on an epic series of books is that there’s simply no time for the details. So I recommend that you skip re-reading the final book before screening the final film.
Yet it’s the yearbook quality that makes these films so powerful. You love these movies and these characters precisely because you’ve spent so much time with them. We’ve watched the three leads grow from adorable wide-eyed moppets into skilled and nuanced actors. And it’s always fun to watch stars of the British stage and screen chew the scenery as magical professors.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a loving thank you and goodbye to all who’ve spent a decade engrossed in the story of a magical orphan.