Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The boy-wizard franchise goes out on a high
It gives this critic great pleasure to confirm that the final film in the franchise adapted from JK Rowling’s boy wizard publishing phenomenon is among the top three of the eight-part series. Since the series hit the ground running ten years ago with the delightful first instalment, The Philosopher’s Stone, the standard of the films has, generally speaking, been high, although there have been some troughs. The penultimate film, which adapted the first half of the seventh and last book, suffered from not having a satisfying ending and from a feeling that not enough was happening. Happily, … The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 satisfies on both points with its breakneck pacing, breathtaking set-pieces and a genuinely heart-warming ending.
It’s hats off to director David Yates for concluding the series on a high point. Having taken creative control from the fifth film, The Order of the Phoenix, Yates, whose most notable previous screen credit was the BBC television political thriller State of Play, fully embraced the by now darker and more adult tone set by the books. Appropriately, the climax of the series is the darkest and most mature film yet. What with the wholesale slaughter that comes with Lord Voltemort’s (spectacularly realised) assault on Hogwarts School of Wizardry and the sacrifice that more than one major character has to make in order to defeat him, The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 hardly feels like a kid’s film at all.
Praise too must go to the three once but no longer young stars of the series, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. Have grown up and into their characters, all three do a great job of playing Harry, Hermione and Ron as young adults (and in the touching coda adult adults). It’s these three that give the film it’s real emotional clout, which is no mean feat considering the sheer volume of fantastical creations this special effects-heavy blockbuster is loaded with.
It’s great that the series has come to a proper conclusion. Nevertheless, it’s sort of sad to see it go.
Out now on general release. Very special thanks to Vue Omni cinema in Edinburgh.