Review: 'Deathly Hallows Part 2' is a Perfect End to the 'Potter' Series

July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

Everything ends. 10 years of build. 10 years for millions and millions of fans around the world to wonder just how the Harry Potter franchise would end. While many of those fans learned exactly how it ended when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the book released in 2007, seeing the conclusion come to cinematic life is finally upon us. No one, not J.K. Rowling, not the cast, not the director David Yates, have let us down, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the conclusion to the conclusion, ends up being the most satisfying conclusion that could possibly have been made. Not only that, it comes off as the best Harry Potter film to date and even rivals such notable series enders as Return of the King and Return of the Jedi. With time, it could even find its way to surpassing them both.

The synopsis is about as simple as the Harry Potter films get. With only half a book to deal with in this last film, it all boils down to the third act, the last few chapters, the point where everything comes to a head and the ultimate battle rages on. The setting this time around isn't a tedious forest, something those who weren't too fond of Deathly Hallows: Part 1 will be thankful for. Instead, the setting for the final battle is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The combatants are the forces of good versus the forces of evil, but that goes without saying, too. And at the heart is Harry Potter, played for the last time by Daniel Radcliffe, versus the evil Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes.

The series has had ups and downs, bumps in the long and winding road from Harry learning his wizardry powers to finally coming face to face with his archenemy. For the past four or five films, at least since Yates took over directing duties on Order of the Phoenix, the series has spun its wheels a bit, biding its time and building to this seventh story. Plot progressed. Characters grew. Some even died, but knowing you were right in the middle of an overlaying story whose conclusion wouldn't be seen for two or three more films was always a hindrance to be taken into account. With Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the stakes are at their highest, and every emotion, every painful loss of a notable character is felt. It's now when everything matters, and the stories and arcs that have come before are allowed to meet their respective finales.

It's in the battle between Harry and Voldemort. You know at least one of them isn't going to make it to the end, and everything that has come into play between the two characters, even though they haven't shared much screen time, comes into play. It's in the relationships between Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint). The child actors have grown into adults as have their characters, and the journey we've taken with them for the past seven films and ten years pays off as well as it possibly can. When choices are made between any two of them, it sends shockwaves through your memory, forces you to remember the children they were and gaze at the young adults and fine actors they have all become.

The emotional journey is felt in secondary characters, too. Every character, at least every named character, has their moment to shine in Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves allow for this in the film's run time and pacing so that no character and no event ever felt short-changed. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 could actually be seen as a study in time management in film. Nothing is rushed. Nothing feels left out. Every character is given their just due. And it's all in their in a film that runs just over two hours. It really is a wonder to behold all they are able to pack in to a film with a run time of less than three hours.

And then there's Alan Rickman as Snape, the enigmatic yet oftentimes closefisted teacher who has since become schoolmaster at Hogwarts. In Deathly Hallows: Part 2, every action from this character, every question you may have had about him, is answered, and it's gloriously and heartbreakingly constructed. And behind it all is Rickman, pillar of serious and genuine performance that he is. In the short time he's given in this last film, you realize no one could have played this character quite like Rickman, and among the innumerable ways in which this last story makes you want to go back and revisit past ones, his performance throughout this arc is at the top of the list.

But Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is more than just overwhelming emotion. The action staged is impeccably constructed, as well. There's been a question about Yates' ability to truly craft decent action, but within the two films that make up Deathly Hallows, the questioning can stop. Much of the film revolves around or has as a backdrop one, large battle around Hogwarts. While we don't see much of the battle first-hand, we see enough. Much of the true emotion that comes from it, the lost lives being the main source of said emotion, comes in the aftermath when Harry and his friends are seeing the damage Voldemort and his minions are creating. It could be a way of not having to shoot much action, a way for Yates to work around what he himself sees as a weakness in his direction. However, it works better this way. The emotional impact is stronger when the results of this battle are revealed after the fact rather than seeing them first-hand.

Which brings us to the 3-D element, not an element often brought up in reviews, as they don't generally qualify for every viewer of the film. Unfortunately, when the case is such that the 3-D distracts, when it is so bad that it takes you out of the film, it almost has to be brought up as a warning. Such is the case with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, a post-converted splotch on an otherwise masterful work of cinema. Audiences are given a choice, not always the case, and they should be told that, as has been seen before, the 3-D in Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is not only not good, it's a diversion.

Yet when that seems to be the only truly bad element of a film, it can hardly be taken into account against the film itself. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a flawless consummation to 10 years of steady build. At any moment, the series could have lagged to the point of dropping out completely. It could have given up anywhere in any of the previous seven films, but despite finding a few dips, it never sank. It's gotten us here, and thank Dumbledore for that, because with a capper as masterfully put together as Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is, it makes revisiting the entire journey all the more worthwhile.

Jeremy's Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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Beast Mode!

Bassam El-azzeh on Jul 15, 2011


I saw it it 2d, i totally forgot they had a 3d version... id say all the crappy things about the movie, might be due to it having a 3d version... the time they took to put that in, they could have used to finish more scenes, and not rush so many... Other that, I agree its a really good ending. It trully didn't dissapoint... (at least me who did not read the book)

Ricardo Marques on Jul 15, 2011


i saw it at midnight in imax 3d, it was beyond incredible

Susan Lynn Sayers on Jul 15, 2011


9.5? That's a little farfetched.

GoonkaChez on Jul 15, 2011


I've already seen it in the regular version and IMAX 3D and I have to disagree and say go to the IMAX 3D version. I literally felt like I was at Hogwarts in the battle. I haven't seen the regular 3D version, so I don;t know if that changes anything, but if you can, see it in the IMAX 3D!  

Tori on Jul 16, 2011


The movie was epic up until after the Kings Cross scene... after that it was a trainwreck.  Snapes story definitely brought tears to my eye.

Cory Lind on Jul 16, 2011


The end should have stayed true to the book--it would have been much better J.K. Rowling's way. I think they wanted a more theatrical battle for the movie scene.  Also, the scene with Neville's speech was weak--never happened that way in the book. Otherwise, I loved the movie

3plus1 on Jul 16, 2011


This epic ending was a true heartfelt ending! Although there was alot of scenes that should have not been left out, but after all this is the movie made from a book so it's not always going to have every detail in it. The one part I wish they didn't leave out was when voldemort asked Harry, why do you live? Harry says, cuz I have something worth living for! They showed that part in a few trailers and I was very disappointed that they didn't put it in the film. But I'm sure it will be on the DVD when it arrives. I felt that they betrayed the battle a little to much. They only showed maybe 20 mins of the actual hardcore battle and I really think it should have shown alot more. I was very pleased to see they gave Harry and Voldemort more of a fight than anything. If you read the book then you know that the final stand off between the two was very short. They really made it more enjoyable to see Harry and Voldemort go at it. Overall I would rate this movie 10/10 most definitely. It is now my favorite out of the whole series. It really has me hooked to see it again and again for a few weeks straight. If I were director David Yates, I would have made a completely different movie to where Voldemort actually concurred Harry Potter. Of course it wouldn't be the actual film, but I think it would be awesome to see how it played out if Voldemort actually did win. I just hope they have some alternate endings for when the DVD comes out.

Bkcarlito on Jul 16, 2011


The Deathly Hollows Book was released 15 July 2005, not 2007.

Tsenes on Jul 16, 2011

10 it wasn't. It came out the same year as Order of the Phoenix in theaters... not Goblet of Fire.

Ravek020 on Jul 16, 2011


The release date for Deathly Hollow was July 2007 I know this because I read it the day after it was released and I was 9 months pregnet and my son will be 4 next month

Karen on Jul 16, 2011


Karen, are you sure your son isn't 6? You might be wrong about that. :-p

Jeremy Kirk on Jul 16, 2011


2011 - 2007= 4 years (not 6)

cooper on Jul 16, 2011


3D IMAX was amazing. And I hate 3D with a burning fire. - My only complaint: Ron's bros dies...Ron cries...Ron's over it in 15 minutes. (you say "fekt" instead of "felt" in the 5th paragraph)

Nick on Jul 16, 2011


Have to say I disagree with your review. The film was a disappointment to me. I had so much feeling invested in the series that I was so ready to go there emotionally with the director, but he didn't make it happen. Most of the scenes with emotional interactions between characters weren't fully developed and felt stunted and rushed (such as Ron's reaction to his brother's death).  Another 20 minutes could have easily been added to the film to flesh these scenes out.

Cat on Jul 16, 2011


Cat this is 100% my gripe as well. So much potential for emotion that was left out. I had really looked forward to the movie satisfying my need for fuller emotion (read: tear-jerker moments) after finding it a little lacking in the book, but was disappointed in that regard.

Erin Dougherty on Jul 18, 2011


I think that one of the best new films to be released lately is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you haven’t seen it you definitely should check it out. An affordable way you can see it is by using the new Blockbuster Movie Pass. As a DISH Network customer and employee I can tell you that right now if you switch to DISH Network you can get the movie pass FREE for 3 months! There are over 100,000 titles to choose from like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and TV shows and games you can get through the mail. Plus you can get 5 in-store exchanges per month with no due dates or late fees. Check it out!  

Anonymous on Nov 15, 2011

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