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August 8, 2011 | by  | in Film |
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2

Ten years, eight films and over six billion dollars later, the Harry Potter film franchise has boarded a train and left King’s Cross. From the haphazard beginnings of the first couple of films, the franchise has progressed steadily to the point where the climax has a lot to do justice to, both book-wise and film-wise.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (hereafter referred to as HP8) picks up where Deathly Hallows Part 1 left offHarry and his constant companions, Ron and Hermione, are on the quest to destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes with the aim of bringing down the Dark Lord himself.

Franchise stalwart David Yates is back to direct the finale and he continues to bring a darker and more mature tone to the franchise – make no mistake, this is not a kids movie. He avoids dumbing the story down by taking too long to explain what’s happening, rollicking along at the pace of a Gringotts mine cart. While this is great for diehard fans, portions of this movie thus become incomprehensible to people that have not read the books. Yates makes up for it, however, with unrelenting action, particularly in the second half of the movie, as Hogwarts is thrown into all-out war – as Harry races through Hogwarts on his mission, the once-proud school is destroyed by all manner of magical beasts.

All that said, Harry Potter lives and dies on the strength of its characters. All the pretty spells, monsters and 3D battle scenes would mean nothing if the characters were not faithfully and believably portrayed. Thankfully, HP8 doesn’t disappoint. In particular, it’s amazing to see how much the lead trio’s acting has improved in the last decade – they now fully inhabit the roles, and it’s impossible to think of Harry, Ron and Hermione being played by anyone else.

The standout performance, though, comes from Alan Rickman as sleeping snake Severus Snape. Rickman’s original misgivings about Snape’s perceived ‘one-dimensional nature’ are dispelled here and it seems fitting that Rickman is able to brilliantly bring this multifaceted character to life.

It’s very hard to find fault with this movie. My main gripe is the epilogue, which is just as contrived and unnecessary as it is in the book. Overall, though, HP8 is a fitting end to a generational franchise, sending Harry out with the bang of a well-cast stunning spell.

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