When last we saw Bella (Kristen Stewart), she had just opened her eyes on a brave new world. Transformed into a vampire to save her life, Bella must find where she belongs in the world, while facing down the biggest threat she, Edward (Robert Pattinson) and the Cullen family have ever faced; The Volturi.
Honestly, if you have never seen a Twilight film you may as well stop reading now. This film is not meant for you. This film is designed for fans of the franchise, and to give Edward and Bella the happy ending they have dreamed about.
Kristen Stewart seems to have been restrained by her character in the Twilight franchise, and in this final instalment she looks as though she is approaching something akin to enjoying herself. She smiles throughout and seems to have a lot of fun playing a stalking vampire. Gone is the awkward moochy, pouty teenager – thank the lawd – and in her place is an adult vampire who is finally confident in herself. Women, rejoice! Bella may seem to pawn her child off so she can go and climb cliffs and spend time with her lover, but that is the fault of the story, not the actress.
Robert Pattinson does not fare as well here. Edward is entirely sidelined for the sake of bringing Bella and her new life to the fore. Pattinson is little more than simply ‘there’, but this is nothing that we have not seen before. The same goes for Taylor Lautner who finally gets his big romantic moment and bungles it spectacularly. Maggie Grace looks great as a curly haired vamp, but does little more than that, Dakota Fanning glares out from under her eyeliner to say one word, and Michael Sheen… Oh Michael Sheen, you should be ashamed of yourself. Just as the audience is thinking ‘thank god this guy is here, he may be camping it up, but at least he is sort of fun’ the camp becomes hammy and cheesy and downright laughable.
Honestly, the story is a waste of time. Yes, we get to see Bella becoming strong and confident – now that she has anchored herself to a man and changed everything about herself – but there is very little other than that. The most ridiculously named vampire child of all time – Renesmee (played by Mackenzie Foy) grows, the Volturi get mad and lots of other vampires arrive. As for these vampires; where to begin… The Irish vampires seem to have stepped off the set of Darby O’Gill and the Little People, so stereotypical are they (much of the audience dissolved into laughter when they appeared on screen), the Amazon vampires look like Tyra Banks, and the rest of the non-Americans have accents so thick the actors seem to be chewing their way through them.
And the final battle… Not what you think it is. In fact, this is such a narrative cop out for the sake of inserting drama into a film where there shouldn’t be a final set piece, that screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg really must think that the audience are morons. In fact the film plays like so much superficial foreplay, leading to a final confrontation that never happens.
As with Breaking Dawn Part 1, Guillermo Navarro’s cinematography is lovely, but the questionable CGI is not only creepy, but it completely undermines Navarro’s work. Director Bill Condon seems to have done the best job that he could do with the messy screenplay and, other than the direction of the cringeworthy Irish vampires, can be forgiven as he is struggling against a badly written film.
In all, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is a film for the fans. Casual viewers may find this the unintentionally best comedy of the year, and it is certainly not going to win the franchise any new fans. Twi-hards will love it; everyone else will wish they had gone to see something else instead.