Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

Rating: ***
Release Date: 11/19/09
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman, Warwick Davis, Robbie Coltrane, Helena Bonham Carter, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Maggie Smith, John Hurt, Matthew Lewis, Michael Gambon

A bit of a letdown, as Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) cross wands for the last time. The film has a lot of loose ends to pull together, and while I've always had a hard time connecting the dots in the series, this one left me completely puzzled and confused. I may have to read the Cliff Notes version of the story to figure out what actually happened. Picking up right where Part 1 left off, the tide of battle slowly starts to turn in Harry's favor, but not without great sacrifices. Hogwarts becomes a bloody battleground as Voldemort's dark army descends upon it, and Harry's friends make a valiant last stand.

The film is essentially a collection of revelations interlaced with epic battle scenes. The action is tense and exciting, even though I often had no clue what was going on. Normally I would just lose myself in the beautiful scenery, but the crappy 3D was a constant annoyance and spoiled the fun. Excellent performances by the entire cast, even though some of the dialog was really awkward and dumb. Ron (Rupert Grint) really stepped up to the plate this time, proving that he is worthy of Hermione's (Emma Watson) affections. Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) also gets a well deserved shot of heroism and saves the day, while Luna Lovegood holds an important key to Harry's success. Unfortunately, Voldemort comes across as a bit of a pathetic loser, turning into a clichéd caricature of a psychotic laughing villain, drunk on his own ego. He's a loose cannon for sure, but he doesn't ever seem to pose much of a threat (although Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) might disagree). The film looks lovely and the music score is oppressively haunting. I could have done without the sugary sweet epilogue, but I suppose it's an appropriate send-off for the characters that we've grown to love over the years.

Thank you Harry, Ron, and Hermione for the magic that you brought to the screen, and the fantastic legacy that you leave behind. You will be missed.