Cinema Review – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

We left our hero in a secluded cottage having buried his dear friend Dobby. Things do not start slowly for Harry this time around, instead he is – and we are – quickly catapulted into the final battle between Death Eaters and Dumbledore’s Army, between Voldemort and Harry, between good and evil.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is bound to be a film that has mixed feelings surrounding it. It promises to be the most action packed and thrilling of the series so far, but it also marks the end which, if fans are anything like me, means dying to see the film but wishing they never had to.

This film is the battle we have all been waiting for, and instead of the film building to it – as we have seen in the past – the film is the battle, and what a spectacular one it is. Right from the get go, Harry and his friends are racing to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort figures out what they are up to. The first hour of the film sets the scene for the final battle at Hogwarts, where Professor McGonagall gets the chance to be as badass as we all suspected she was. The war is all we have been waiting for and more, the special effects are incredible and everyone kicks just a little more ass than before. The story is not lost in the battle, however; the delicate balance of conflict and emotion is definitely struck.

All of the confrontations in the Harry Potter films to date have included Ron and Hermione, but this is very much Harry’s show. He knows he must face Voldemort alone, and while his friends fight the Death Eaters, giants, werewolves and other creatures, this is exactly what he does. The film, while filled with action and spectacular fight scenes, is much more sombre than those that have gone before it. This may have something to do with the audience projecting their sadness on to the film as they know it is the last one, but there is also a very real feeling of surrender and fearlessness. Harry may finally be willing to accept his fate.

Daniel Radcliffe is the best he has ever been as Harry. Gone are the interjections, protestations and cheek – the hallmarks of Harry’s childhood. Instead, Harry is now a young man who knows what he is facing. Through Harry’s eyes we see the destruction at the only place he called home, and the dead bodies of his friends. While his loss is massive his reaction is relatively small, but the audience feels it with him and for him. Melancholy is a mood that suits Harry Potter.

While this story may be Harry’s, Daniel Radcliffe is almost acted off the screen by his supporting cast. Almost everyone that we have met through Harry’s journey makes a reappearance – Ollivander, Griphook, Lupin and Tonks to name a few. Alan Rickman as Snape finally gets the chance to reveal the heartbreak he carries and show that the character is far from one dimensional. Helen Bonham Carter has a great turn as Hermione impersonating Bellatrix, and although it may only last minutes, it’s a joy to watch. Neville finally gets his moment as a hero, and Ron and Hermione realise their feelings for each other – several years behind the rest of us.

The film deviates slightly from the book, but for the first time in the entire series, this is not an issue because the sacrifice is made for the sake of pacing. The decision to divide the final book into two films was actually a wise one, as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the first of the series that does not feel held back or cluttered by it’s intricate and detailed plot. The mystery has been solved: All that remains is the confrontation. While the conclusion rolls towards us, however, some moments do feel slightly rushed – such as Mrs Weasley’s foray into battle. Fans of the series will recognise this pace from the books, but on screen the audience may need a fraction longer with each character to see their moment of glory, and bid them farewell… but it’s a minuscule complaint.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 does the series proud by giving it the ending that it deserved. The story wraps up in a thrilling ride that is not only emotional, but satisfactory. All the threads are tied up while the audience sits on the edge of their seat, fighting back tears. The epilogue to the film was probably not needed, but it was not needed in the book either, and it doesn’t detract that much from the end.

As the poster tells us; “It all ends”, and how. The action is like nothing we have seen yet, while allowing the emotion to resonate with the audience. Harry may be bidding us farewell, but he gives us a wonderful send off.

Rating: 4/5

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