Yesterday was my birthday, and I decided to spend a lot of it resting so I could go to a midnight screening of the last film in the most successful movie franchise of all time. Today’s movie is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The Warner Bros. production – rated PG-13 – stars an ensemble cast headlined by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, and including Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, David Bradley, Tom Felton, Gemma Jones, Dave Legeno, Matthew Lewis, Kelly Macdonald, Miriam Margolyes, Simon McBurney, Helen McCrory, Nick Moran, Peter Mullan, Clémence Poésy, Natalia Tena, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright. This movie had a metric ton of hype going in, as it was the most anticipated movie of the summer, and it could also be considered the most anticipated film of the year. Was it worth it? Let’s find out.

The film begins with the last scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, with Lord Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) retrieving the Elder Wand from the grave of Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). The scene then switches to a host of Dementors surrounding Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as new Headmaster Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) watches silently as the students march in through the Entrance Courtyard. We then go to Shell Cottage where Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is seen still mourning the loss of Dobby before going in and joining Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) as they interrogate the goblin Griphook (Warrwick Davis) and Ollivander (John Hurt). Realizing what they have to do, they strike a deal with Griphook to get them into Gringott’s so they can sneak into the vault of Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter). Once they get in and sneak past a great dragon, it’s up to Harry to destroy a Horcrux that Bellatrix had hidden inside. The movie then picks up from here, with great battles, great sadness, and an epic finale.

To ask what worked in this movie is like asking does breathing work. The cast – which has been together forever – really gels in this last film. There’s one point in the movie where it’s up to Daniel Radcliffe to really carry a scene on his shoulders. For those who have read the epic tomes, you know what scene I’m talking about. It almost doesn’t fit amongst the madness and mayhem that took place beforehand, but Radcliffe makes it work as he sells the infinite sadness beautifully. The comic parts weren’t as groan inducing as I thought they would be; in fact, they were quite funny, and they were really needed as well because old favorites die and die hard. There is one death in particular that is absolutely gut-wrenching, or at least it would have been.

Sadly, there are some things that didn’t work here. Well, things is a bit brutal, but there was one thing that didn’t jive: the deaths themselves. Some pretty important people die in this movie, but you really don’t get to say good bye to them in a proper way. It’s like one minute you see them, and they’re dead the next. You’re left wondering how they died, but there is no answer to that question onscreen. In fact, you only get to see one of the characters die, and that one doesn’t really come as too much of a shock, but it’s only because that one character is so unfamiliar to the movies themselves.

David Yates directed this film with the panache that he’s displayed for the last four films. He’s shown a flair for the action and he handles the quiet moments well. The pacing is a little quick, and it looks like there were some scenes left on the cutting room floor, but that’s probably more of a business decision than anything. Alexandre Desplat returns to score this film, and he has some rich tomes in the score, although it’s not as driving as the last one. I’m not going to say a word, but I loved how they decided to go full circle at the end; it was totally worth it, and it worked great. It really brought a smile to my face, because it gave me an opportunity for something I didn’t have at first.

I really loved this movie. Like I said, it hit all of the right notes, and it was perfect in almost every way. There were some big reveals and some powerful acting, particularly by Alan Rickman, who was asked to deliver an emotional punch that no one saw coming. With that being said, I can’t help but to consider this movie five times More Epic than Love Jones. Go see it now, go see it quickly, go see it again. It has deserved all of the hype and then some.

So, in closing…Mischief managed. Nox.

Finis.

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