Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Director: David Yates
Running Time: 130 mins
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a British film and the final instalment in the Harry Potter series. Continuing to search for Horcruxes to bring down Voldemort, Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts for one last time, where they engage in an epic final battle with their pursuers.
I’ve had my ups and down over the course of the 19 hours of the Harry Potter saga, but thanks to this film, it all feels like it was worth it. Saving the very best in drama, tension and emotion for last, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a truly epic series finale that’s utterly enthralling at every moment. With more brains, courage and magic than ever before, this film is the very sweet spot that I’ve been waiting for all along, and it’s incredibly satisfying to witness.
So, for this final review, I want to talk not just about how good this film is, but how the series as a whole has evolved up until this point. JK Rowling did an incredible job to give the overall story arc so much dramatic heft come the end, and the way that each edition has given more and more layers (not always successfully) to the battle between good and evil works a real treat when it comes to tying up all loose ends in the last instalment.
The most stark difference between this film and The Philosopher’s Stone is the tone. Whilst I adored the happy, Spielberg-esque vibe of the original, I can’t deny that The Deathly Hallows: Part 2’s exceptionally dark atmosphere makes for the best watch of all. As I’ve said time and time again since The Order Of The Phoenix, David Yates does an incredible job as director, but there’s something extra special about how he pulls off this final chapter.
Whilst the confident and slick delivery of the darker atmosphere is there once again, the real mark of this film is how strongly is portrays Harry and his friends’ loss of almost all hope in the face of their enemies. Rather than building tension with regards to the threat of Voldemort, what this film does brilliantly is build suspense to the point where Harry and all those around him finally give up.
Whether that happens or not is not for me to reveal, but the genius of David Yates here is that he puts so much focus onto Harry’s own emotions, showing him as more afraid of death, loss and his friends’ fate than simply confronting Voldemort, and that makes for a thoroughly engrossing, often emotionally powerful and hugely original two and a quarter hours of film.
In general, everything in this final chapter feels incredibly desperate, but it’s that point that makes it such an exhilarating conclusion. Showing off higher stakes than anything we’ve ever seen, and even provoking the first genuinely emotional reaction from me, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 hits the perfect point of this series. It may all be set in and around the world of wizards and magic, but in the end, as this film shows, the real centre of this entire saga is the people involved.
With huge significance given to so many characters over the previous seven films, it’s incredible to see that this final film wraps up all the loose ends, gives each character a worthy and deserved time to finish their story, and allows you to have a huge range of emotional reactions, whether you’re still mourning the death of Dobby, hoping for Ron and Hermione to finally get together, or willing Harry to survive one last time.
Over the course of the series, I’ve talked about all the mistakes with regards to tone, focus and pacing, and this is the very first film that’s got every single one of those elements right. I may not be the biggest Potter fan of all time, but even I can’t deny what a stunning conclusion to such a long series this is, and that’s why I’m giving Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 an 8.4.