This is a review by someone who has never read a single word out of a Harry Potter book and has only experienced these characters through the films. And after what I considered to the worst of all the Potter movies in Deathly Hallows Part 1, there is a good amount of redemption here in Part 2. I wouldn’t say it’s the best Potter film of the series, as it’s a bit uneven, but it’s probably like the 3rd best.
I take it since basically everyone I know who read the books was saying that Deathly Hallows Part 1 was the greatest thing ever at the end of last year, that there is a huge divide between the book readers and the movie watchers. Unapologetically, the last 3 films of the series made very little effort to cater to people who didn’t read the books. Scenes that seemed unnecessary to the likes of me, were met with heaps of praise and excitement by the book folk. And to be honest, I’m happy they did that, it made for a better experience for the true fans of the series. Fuck me, right? I was able to follow along good enough, albeit for several sequences that seemed like fluff that no doubt were explored in wonderous detail in the books.
And that’s maybe one of the only major flaws I had with this last installment, though. To me, the first 30 minutes of this film seemed very uninspired. Lots of people talking while sitting in chairs. Not much going on. Lots of exposition. And it’s not that I NEED action or else I won’t be able to appreciate it, but it was like, kind of boring. The first chunk of the film that is, much like I thought stretches of Part 1 were. But once it kicks into high gear and the central story actually starts rolling, this is an unquestionably good film.
And from someone who didn’t know what was going to happen beforehand, the twists and revelations and action were pretty great. And the killing off of the characters! (I’ve always said if I had a TV show for some reason, and I had to do a series finale, I’d kill off most of the characters, even if it’s a comedy show) I suppose that’s the only advantage someone like me has over the book readers, I got to experience the thrill of it all in a purely cinematic fashion. But again, this movie definitely wasn’t made for people like me. I think the level of passion is pretty cool amongst the fans of the Potter series. I went to a screening that only had about 30 people in it, at 2 pm, and there was still audience members who seemed excited and cheered and shit.
But the movie itself, as I said earlier, it’s probably my third favorite Potter film (behind Goblet of Fire and Prisoner of Azkaban). Once Voldemort goes into full on asshole mode, the movie really shines. The wizard battles in this are pretty phenomenal. Colorful, violent, high intensity fights. And the whole thing moves at a good pace in the second and third acts as well. To single out a specific scene, when Voldemort shows up at Hogwarts and tried to recruit people and Neville Longbottom gives his speech and so forth, that was one of the most riveting scenes I’ve seen in any film in a while. And there was no action in it! See, I don’t NEED action.
The epilogue seemed a little unnecessary and tacked on, though. But again, I’m sure fans of the book liked it.
Also saw it in 3D, and thought it was worth the extra $3. I can’t really point out any specific instances where the 3D dazzled me (like I could for Transformers), but it was pretty good overall. Lots of good depth. Yeah, could have been a little brighter at times, I suppose. Wasn’t a problem or anything, though.
All in all, a fitting end for the franchise. My favorite aspects of the whole series are the wonderful discoveries of magic intertwined with darker subject matter (as seen in the 3rd and 4th films). These last couple films were almost all dark, but it seemed appropriate. Maybe it wasn’t as emotional to me as it was for everyone else, as I’m just a casual fan of the films, but the series definitely went out on a high note. And $500 million opening weekend worldwide gross! Dayum! Even The Dark Knight Rises might struggle to compete with those numbers next year.
8 out of 10