But the ending was embarrassing.
Much like every other review of Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final installment in a movie franchise that has been ever-present through a generation if it didn't define it, two thirds of this bitch is going to be about the series as a whole. A series which I would submit is the most critically apologized for in history, a series which has seen a decade of critics fumble around for reasons why it doesn't suck, a series of eight films where not one has a rating of less than 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it statistically the best reviewed franchise in history. Because nobody wants to be a killjoy? Because nobody wants to look like the muggle in the room? I think the likeliest explanation is because it's such a critic proof phenomenon, all the haters give up around film three and submitted because hey, these films aren't AWFUL right. For me, it's a series of films which are simply OK, with a couple of good ones and a couple of bad ones.
But to say any of them are masterpieces, or five star films or better than Lord Of The Rings is to be quite frankly ridiculous. Fans have basically interpreted nobody hating these films as everyone loving them, and this has led to some delusional things being bandied about like best film of the year or Oscar nomination talk. Guys just no. You got an entertaining, well-formed and occasionally impressive conclusion to a series you loved. It was certainly the best film of the franchise. But let's collectively curb our enthusiasm shall we? Because I think a lot of people who previously didn't give a shit will find their sense of unpleasant truth telling suddenly renewed, and comments will be left, outrage had, friendships destroyed and villages burned. So, it's good but not great, yeah?
But like I said, this is the best Harry Potter movie. It feels the least like a piece of fan service, as my biggest complaint about previous films is that rarely do they feel satisfying as their own movie, often feeling ill-formed or patched together, such is the need to get all the fans favorite moments in the films that the films themselves tend to be an incoherent mess. There's no film that didn't contain a scene or set-piece I didn't enjoy, but the story always felt rushed. This one felt like a movie, it felt like what happened should happen, and it made sense in the context of the movie as opposed to the books. It was a straight forward war movie, a straight forward good guy vs bad guy story that was basically Star Wars. No more going through the motions school-day tedium, and it payed off nicely.
Now for the elephant in the room, which is the performances of the three leads. The conventional narrative is that they grew up on camera, going from OK to great. I buy this sort of, although for me the metamorphosis goes from incompetent to OK. In fact there was one scene at the end of the film where I was actually quite impressed by the acting of Daniel Radcliffe. I was like wow, that was actually good. And then I thought, this is the first time I've been impressed by Radcliffe in 20 Plus hours of movies. And this is the first time I've been interested in Potter as a character in that same time, and it made it all the more frustrating that for the most these movies had three fully functioning black holes at its centre, destroying everything that could have been great with a sheer lack. Radcliffe is probably going to be a good actor from here on out, but its funny how the role of his life had to be the one where he figured out how to get there. As for Watson and Grint? Sorry, I've got nothing.
There was one sequence, as there always is, which particularly impressed me. That revolved around Alan Rickman's Snape. Rickman who to me has always been the best performance in the thing by a mile, has too often been relegated to caricature or flat out wasted in lieu of kids screen-time. But he gets his due here in a surprisingly affecting sequence that to me, is the best thing the movie's have ever done. My Voldemort problems have never gone away, to the end he's a simply drawn big bad, who may as well just be called the final boss, because that's how the movie treats him. In spite of the fun Ralph Fiennes is having, and that can be sort of infectious, it's a nothing character and that's incredibly disappointing. Everyone else kind of comes and goes, with only Matthew Lewis' Neville getting anything of substance to do.
Ultimately, it's a great summer movie that was suitably visually impressive and enjoyable. But it comes at the end of a series that always felt like a work in progress and not in a good way. And somehow what worked so well about deathly Hallows part 2 is a little less impressive knowing how long it took to get there. But I guess I don't want to look like the only muggle in the room, so this comes recommended.
Rating: 7/10 (Totally the first Harry Potter Movie to get anywhere near this rating)