More than 10 years after the first “Harry Potter” film was released — and 14 years since fans first got a taste of J.K. Rowling’s intoxicating wizardry world — the mega-movie franchise has come to an end.
The eighth and last film in the epic movie franchise had a lot to accomplish. Each storyline had to be wrapped up, each character needed enough time to shine and audience members needed to feel closure to the franchise they’ve followed for the last decade.
Lucky for Harry Potter fans, (aka Potterheads), director David Yates does all of this and more. “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is a fast-paced visual splendor, which focuses mainly on the last 300 pages or so of the book.
From the very beginning of the film, audience members are reminded of what is at stake — Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has just found the elder wand (one of the three hallows) and is on the brink of waging an all-out war against Harry and his comrades.
Meanwhile, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermoine (Emma Watson) is in a race against time to destroy the next Horcrux, which is the key to Voldemort’s immortality. If Harry and friends can destroy all of the Horcruxes, ultimately they can destroy Voldemort.
This takes the trio of wizards to Gringotts Bank to sneak in to Bellatrix Lestrange’s (Helena Bonham Carter) vault — one of the film’s most thrilling scenes as Harry, Ron and Hermoine plunge deep below the surface of the earth only to escape on the back of a fire-breathing dragon.
The film culminates in what fans have predicted for years: An all out battle that pits Harry against Voldemort, good against evil.
The showdown takes place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the place where Harry and his friends have grown and matured into young adults.
The battle is an emotional thrill — it’s loud, chaotic and the efftects are stunning.
In addition to the film’s strong visuals, “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” showcases a strong acting cast.
Although shaky in the first few films, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson’s acting has grown with the characters leaving little doubt that anyone else could portray these iconic figures.
But it’s been the films’ adult cast members who are effective with creating emotion.
Fiennes is pure evil as Voldemort. While cinematic villains can often be seen as one-sided, Fiennes is able to convey the fear, anger and hatred of Voldemort.
As always, Alan Rickman delivers the best performance as Professor Severus Snape, who is Hogwart’s new headmaster in the film.
A scene with Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) shows that no matter what, the boy who lived with the lightening bolt scar on his forehead will never lose heart.
PG-13. 130 minutes.