Enter World 7-2: Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 Review

It’s not that often in a person’s lifetime that they’re able to witness the full run of a movie line that spans more than three films and (for the most part) bring a satisfying conclusion to everything. Sure, it was one full movie more than was expected, but regardless Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was able to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the franchise, weighed down only by the details that should have been covered in previous films.

Since this is an adaptation of a book series, I’m not gonna bother keeping things on the hush hush since honestly, people have had four years to get caught up with their readings. You’ve been warned!

As expected, the movie picks up exactly where Part 1 left off, with the trio having just escaped another near-death situation and have fled to the convenient beach house of one of Ron’s many brothers. Again, not exactly sure where to head next for his Horcrux hunt, Harry decides to hit up his best option at the moment—a Goblin—eventually leading them to the Gringotts Bank (and the only scene that appears to have been made for 3D audiences). Following this scene, the rest of the movie primarily takes place not in random forests (thankfully, for those that got tired of the constant shrubbery an hour into the last movie), but in the wizarding school of Hogwarts itself, all the pieces finally ready for the final fight.

With fellow students and professors being reunited with the main trio, it’s made clear that this is the battle to end all battles, with the dark lord himself making an “in your head” announcement a la DBZ’s Babidi to prepare for the worst. Nostalgic strings are pulled as secondary characters are given their own 15 seconds of fame, each one prepping for the battle in their own special way—McGonagal enchanting the stone figures for the first line of defense; Mrs. Weasley making protective enchantments around the school; Seamus planting wizarding equivalents of explosives (and all this time, I thought his non-canon interest in explosives wouldn’t pay off)… you know everything’s gonna end, but not without some serious shit going down first.

The following fight is… epicly satisfactory. In general, it seems like the movies have taken the route of treating wands similar to guns, which is fun up until a point. And the whole Harry grabbing Voldemort and jumping off the building… I mean how ‘80s action movie can you get? This is supposed to be the battle to end all things. Sure, there were some epic things like giants and death eaters swooshing around, but at the end of the day, I just think the concept of staging a war in which both sides possess magic was just too daunting. I remember listening in the commentary for The Incredibles how fight scenes were multi-person efforts, everyone bouncing ideas of “wouldn’t suchandsuch be cool” and building off from there. And with the number of liberties previous movies have already taken (Death Eaters flying in that smoke-y way; dementors able to grab people) I’d have considered the final fight the place to see some epic sequences that were notably absent from the book. Maybe having house elves apparate into Death Eaters’ brains to kill them instantly was a bit out of budget for the movie, but just something more to stylize their action.

The only other nitpick I had with Part 2 was the inevitable problem that all movie franchises have: it had to build off of previous movies from the franchise… good and bad. I already mentioned in my part 1 review my discontent with Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, but seeing this final movie just further proves my point. At its core, OotP was nothing more than one massive hint-dropper disguised as a story, leaving little bits about the Horcruxes, the two-way mirror, and some kind of explanation as to what the Order of the Phoenix even was, and yet they couldn’t even get that stuff down when the movie adaptation came around.

HBP had a similar problem with the heavily cut flashback scenes going into the depths of villains (and supposed villains) past, as well as making out Voldemort and his Death Eaters to come off as more like magical hooligans. With the epic fight scene in HP6 to whet fans’ appetites for what would come in HP7.2 being watered down to the wizarding equivalent of a drive-by on Dumbledore, I honestly was left with significantly lowered expectations before HP7.1 changed my mind. Regardless, the small-time thug mentality of the Death Eaters was still apparent in 7.2, with scenes like gangs of Death Eaters laughing at Voldie’s egging on of our heroes (and let’s not forget the awkward Draco/Voldemort hug that was to 7.2 as the Harry/Hermione dance scene was to 7.1… I dunno, British people, I guess). Seeing the bombardment of aspects in Deathly Hallows Part 2 back-referencing the older movies, only made it clearer just how sloppy HP5 and HP6 stand. Still… I will say that Chamber of Secrets did a bang-up job at covering what it was supposed to, me feeling very in the know when they suddenly talked about the Chamber in this latest installment.

But I’m pretty sure even CoS at its best couldn’t top the epicness that was the back-referencing of Sorcerer’s Stone. While I’m not 100% certain, the flashbacks in DH Part 2 look like they could have been extra footage filmed back during Sorcerer’s Stone. In the case that such is true, serious kudos. With chocolate drizzle and M&M bits inside, even.

And then (again, of course) there’s that dreaded Epilogue scene. I’m sorry, but Rowling chose then of all times to play the role of a fangirl to her own series and hand out happy endings like they were free lotion samples at a mall kiosk, so in the movie’s defense, it didn’t have much to work with. Just give the guys some slight fat-suits and the girls Hillary Clinton ‘dos and they’re instantly 19 years older? Yeah, sure, I guess. Still, I think that one opportunity was missed in the sequence. Probably unknown to most people that haven’t read the books, there’s actually a solid timeline in the series—years given and everything. Each book covers one school year, with the first starting in 1991 and the last ending in 1998, with a flash-forward to 2017. I think it would have been fascinating to show at least some muggle-tech to give viewers some idea of the era the muggle world is currently in… though I guess the kids with their Bieber-bowls was enough. :shivers:

So there you have it—the end of a movie franchise. Even taking into consideration all my gripes, I will admit that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was a worthy final note to go out on, with inevitable nitpicks here and there.


About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

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