Well, it took long enough, but they finally made a “Harry Potter” film I can get behind. It’s no small secret that the film series for my taste, come off as a disappointment. The final installment benefits from a well constructed flow, pure emotion, and a truly well put together performance by Daniel Radcliffe. Shedding a lot of unnecessary banter and back-story that bogged the other movies down, the new faster paced style is the kick in the pants the series was always needing, but it may also be what turns off some die hard fans.
Starting directly where part 1 left off, Harry and his comrades are back on the search for the last illusive horcruxes they need to destroy, making it possible to defeat their mortal enemy, Voldemort. Tracking down the next few comes easier this time around and soon the gang find themselves back at Hogwart’s where they believe another Horcrux is stashed. Of course, as they find and destroy these items, Voldemort becomes more aware of their whereabouts and the danger level for every single witch and wizard is raised. With the help of some old friends, control over the school’s oppressive reign is reversed and all of the protagonists hold the fort for what is sure to be the end of their journey; for better or worse.
The film does however begin in territory much too familiar. It relies on fluff jokes about the kids disguised as one of their enemies, trying to break into a heavily guarded building, all while doing poor jobs of inhabiting the characters of their subject. Luckily for the viewer, this only lasts for about 20 minutes and then it’s off to the races. From the moment Maggie Smith steps back into the film (laying down the law like the master we all know she is) it takes on a brilliant pace, as it cuts to and from enthralling battle scenes, to Harry and company searching for the final pieces to bring the story to a close. Even when the enormous melee ends, the script was well built, and doesn’t allow the film drag at all.
All previous films in the series felt laboriously long and drawn out. You can blame it on a lot of things, but the main offender was the necessity to have so much back-story to explain. Surely, part 2 benefits from all of the previous canon exposition and it has tons of action to please everyone. Still, a lot of information went by this time around in quick breezes, and if you are slow on the uptake, you may miss them. It was refreshing and such a welcome change that I hardly felt I was sitting for two hours watching the film.
Aside from the pace, the other stunning offering this time around is the work of Daniel Radcliffe. Never really striking a cord with me, the comparison to the growth of the character of Harry Potter to the skill of Daniel Radcliffe finally comes to life in a vivid and striking performance. Yes, this is not an award winning turn in anyway, but it’s great to see the young man really take hold of the character for once. The rest of the films characters and actors pulled their weight as well, especially Alan Rickman during the final revelation of Snape’s character arc and the imposing will of Matthew Lewis returning as Neville Longbottom (now to be referred to as; bad ass in a Cosby sweater).
I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books, but it is hard not to feel the emotions coarse through me as high points of the movies’ action or story passed along the screen. Yes, the film is not perfect and some things will never make sense, even if J.K. Rowling herself tried to explain them. Yet, it was my lack of knowledge going into all the other films that made them underwhelming for me as I had to sit through one dull explanation after another. The change of style for this movie, while perfect for a viewer like me, might be the thing that turns away the avid “Harry Potter” enthusiast. The bits and pieces that get left by the wayside, making a pleasurable viewing experience for me, might just be the stuff true fans will miss, ruffling their feathers along the way. Nonetheless, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is as enjoyable as they come and arguably the best final addition to any popular long running series out there.