Get ready for an emotion explosion. Everything we’ve been building towards over seven movies and ten years of filming comes to a close in 130 minutes of feels. Legends tell of those who cried as soon as the WB logo came on and didn’t stop for three days. Three. Whole. Days.
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is done with all this Dark Lord crap. He’s ready to grow a beard and spend his vault full of gold that has never really been explained. You have to think of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 as a Part 2, not a stand-alone. It matches up seamlessly with Part 1 and contains so much material you would have been pissed if it were all crammed into one movie. Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) have three horcruxes (pieces of Voldemort’s soul) left to find and they are running out of time. Friends are dying left and right and there are more Death Eaters loping about than Life… Regurgitators? The direct translation may not work here. The tone is dark, intense, and meaningful as this unbelievable journey comes to a close and the school none of us were invited to attend turns into a magically fortified battlefield. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) buses in with his army demanding Harry’s death while housewives, teachers, and teenagers defend their freedom and right to wear blue jeans. All the characters you’ve met over the past decade come together again to stand, fight, and (statistically speaking) die as Harry and Voldemort fulfill the prophecy and face off once and for all.
The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is not a comedy. It’s also not very sanitary. Truckloads of dust were needed to send the message that everyone’s been too busy fighting the good fight to do a little housecleaning. Everyone, that is, except Filch (David Bradley). In perfect accompaniment to their efforts is Alexandre Desplat’s emotional musical score. While the story itself is a passionate parade, the backstory gets me every time. The Harry Potter series is magical in so many ways, one of which is that the story is not totally linear; pieces of the past are slowly injected into the present to give more depth to current events. Near the end of The Deathly Hallows Part 2, when one particularly sincere flashback plays out, you may think you’ll make it through without a tear. As Romilda would know, my stone-hearted efforts are completely in Vane. Mike drop.
While most of the series focuses on Harry’s never-to-be relationship with his father, The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is more about Harry’s mother. Moms, am I right? Including the mythology of the Three Brothers and their magical objects, the Deathly Hallows, this story is altogether grounded in family and history. In the end, whatever questions remain about the plot and its various cavities are answered in one philosophical, existential, 20/20, Mr. Clean vision scene. Harry always solves his problems during a conversation with Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is no different. Well, it’s a little different… What are the answers to all of Harry’s questions? Magic mushrooms, apparently.
Does the finale do the series justice? Holy hippogriffs yes. It still feels a bit rushed, with so many secondary characters returning for the finale and not enough time to hang out with all of them. Even with a two-part conclusion we still miss a lot of the juicy material from J.K. Rowling’s books. My solution? Read the bloody books. The Deathly Hallows Part 2 does everything within its power to say goodbye in the most satisfying way possible. It’s a testament to what you can do with a long-term project, several billion dollars, and a cast that dedicates their youth to a story they love as much as the audience. The Deathly Hallows Part 2 wraps up the series beautifully, leaving you insatiably hungry for more Potter. As a conclusion film to the longest cinematic series to date, and that being a very tough position from which to truly surprise and delight your audience, I give it a worthy 9.5/10.