“It all ends here.” That’s the slogan that adorns an image of a blazing Hogwarts, on the poster gracing the bedroom walls of so many thousands of Harry Potter fans. And end, it does.
Quite unconventionally, the film has no beginning. In fact, it doesn’t even have a middle section. Instead, it snatches the reigns from Part 1 and soars with them, getting straight into the thick of the plot and wasting no time causing havoc. In this epic finale, Harry Potter must meet his fate. A fate, we discover, that was set the moment Lord Voldemort cast the spell that imprinted a scar on Harry’s forehead. It becomes apparent that ‘The Boy Who Lived’ might in fact live no longer. And so the threesome faces their biggest task yet – finding and destroying the remaining Horcruxes – the items that contain fragments of Voldemort’s soul.
The decision to split the final book into two cinematic chapters may face controversy, with critics citing the ‘money’ factor as the main reason behind it. While I agree that the first part lacked everything the second part has in terms of excitement and thrill, it certainly laid the foundations for the second part and enhanced the story line, enabling us as viewers to connect more easily to the characters and fully comprehend the plot of the Deathly Hallows. Of course, nobody likes things to cut off half way through, especially when they have to wait over eight months for the rest of it. But then again, it added to the anticipation. Not only that, but it allowed time for the majority of Part 2 to be the battle, the epic conclusion to an enthralling series. The trio are no longer children, and they no longer have the protection of Dumbledore. In this film they are adults, at least in the Wizarding World, where seventeen marks the ‘coming of age’. They’re not just fighting for their lives; they’re fighting for everyone else’s too. The final battle is just that – final. This reason, above all others, justifies it taking up such a large proportion of Part 2.
There are many emotional moments in the film, as you would expect from the finale of a series spanning an entire decade. Amongst the sentiment felt towards the characters, there is also a similar feeling towards Hogwarts itself: the place where both Harry and Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort) first felt at home. Inevitably Hogwarts stages the franchise’s denouement and the final battle between good and evil.
As with the previous films in the series, Helena Bonham Carter gives a fantastic performance as Beletrix Lestrange, while Alan Rickman’s turn as Severus Snape is faultless. Daniel Radcliffe is at his wooden best, but Harry Potter wouldn’t quite be the same without his flailing arms and static movement. In summary, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a finale that does justice to a decade of its predecessors. It is satisfying, exhilarating, humorous, sad, and utterly brilliant.