The end begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts to find and destroy the final horcruxes. But when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the battle we've all known has been coming -- Harry vs. Voldemort -- looms large on the horizon. And who will triumph?
Regardless if you're a fan of the ridiculously successful franchise (over $6 billion worldwide and counting) or not, you'd be on a fool's errand if you decide to skip the final chapter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, one of the most epic pieces of summer blockbuster entertainment imaginable.
It's hard to imagine what this franchise could have been had it begun differently. Originally, Steven Spielberg was offered the directing gig, but turned it down to do A.I Artificial Intelligence. M. Night Shyamalan was also offered the job, but turned it down to do Unbreakable. The studio had discussed horrible ideas about changing the story, including making Hogwarts have cheerleaders in it. Had that last idea been for real, there's no guarantee the franchise would have lasted after the first entry.
But fear not Potter fans, as you did not have to experience that travesty. It is now ten years later and the last entry in the Harry Potter adventures is here. The only way for the entire series to come full circle is to have the last entry be the strongest one. It certainly does just that, as if director David Yates (who took over the series with Order of the Phoenix) already knew everything he had to do before the cameras even started rolling. There's a burst of exhilaration throughout the film's 130-minute runtime that is unavoidable, regardless of what kind of fan you are to this now historic milestone in modern day cinema.
Part 2 appropriately begins exactly where Part 1 left off. Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has discovered the elderly wand (the most powerful wand of all) and is on the verge of becoming more powerful than Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) can possibly withstand. At the same time, Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) continue their quest of finding and destroying the Dark Lord's three remaining Horcruxes, the magical items that grant him immortality. When the three leads head back to Hogwarts to search for these crucial elements, they soon discover that they are approaching the battle to end all battles. Voldemort and his army march towards Hogwarts to meet Harry and his alliances in a final act of desperation to destroy the young wizard forever.
In perhaps every Harry Potter review I've ever written, I've always stressed how I wish I had read all the books first (again, I've only read the first two), so for me it is hard to determine what the film got right and what is missing from the novel. However, from one of the biggest blockbuster film fans out there, I can assure you that as far as epic filmmaking goes, it's hard not to place this wonderful gem right up with some of the best blockbusters ever made.
Now, there is a difference between one of the best films ever made and one of the best blockbusters ever made. While I don't see the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 winning best picture anytime soon (although a nomination is possible as a tribute to the series), the reason why this is one of the strongest blockbusters ever is that it exceeds its already astounding expectations. If this movie failed, the whole series would end on a sour note. It also has the honor of restoring my faith in the 2011 summer movie season, especially considering the dreadful experience that was Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
I did not expect Deathly Hallows: Part 2 to be so twisty and complex, especially when the big secrets are finally revealed. As a spectator going in blind, the final act of this film had be covered in goosebumps, particularly as Harry and Voldemort prepare for their epic final showdown. When Fiennes speaks the lines "Harry Potter, come to die" I realized just how emotionally invested I was in the story. The film is a stunning spectacle of visual narrative. Moviegoers should be blessed that this final part in the unprecedented series not only doesn't disappoint, but also creates a riff in your moving-loving heart.