“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Movie Review

The end of the Harry Potter saga is here. It’s actually sad. This British fantasy movie released on July 15th, 2011, where it broke records for the highest grossing opening weekend up to that point and some of the best reviews of that year. Warning: like my review for the previous Deathly Hallows, this review is filled with massive spoilers. Read at your discretion. Adapting the second half of J.K. Rowling’s final novel in the Harry Potter series, we see Harry, Ron, and Hermione continuing searching for the Seven Horcruxes that keep Lord Voldemort alive. And right after the first scene with Dobby’s funeral on the beach it already establishes the dark, mournful tone, which is perfect for the story. Then Griphook the Goblin takes them to Gringotts Bank to acquire one of the Horcruxes, a little goblet locked inside of Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault. They break in, get abandoned by Griphook, and escape on the back of a dragon, which was apparently used as protection. That was one of the best scenes from the entire franchise, filled with intensity. Anyway, they then move on to Hogwarts, but after nearly getting caught by Death Eaters they’re rescued by Aberforth, Albus Dumbledore’s lesser known brother. He berates the trio on how any sense of resistance to the Dark Lord is pointless and mentions how his brother was not the saint many make him out to be. But he relents and has a painting of his sister Arianna bring Neville Longbottom to guide them into the castle. Once in, the entire Order of the Phoenix is brought in, and Harry Potter confronts Severus Snape. He angrily tells everyone that he was the one who killed Dumbledore in the tower that night. (More on that later) After freeing Hogwarts, Voldemort contacts them through creepy inner thoughts telling all the students and staff that if Harry is turned over within the hour, Hogwarts will be left alone. Obviously, Professor MacGonagall refuses, sends the entirety of House Slytherin down to the dungeons, and prepares the castle defenses with the other students and teachers. They all realize that they probably don’t stand a chance against Voldemort and his army of Death Eaters. They’re just trying to buy Harry as much time to find and destroy the next Horcrux, the long-lost diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw, which is hidden somewhere in the castle. And there was a nice throwback to the second movie when Ron and Hermione go down to the Chamber of Secrets to destroy the goblet with a Basilisk Fang. This was the exact moment where they finally hook up. After seven movies and 10 years of watching these two being hostile and bickering back and forth, they finally share a passionate kiss. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson’s fantastic chemistry made it just a little more awkward and awesome, even if it did let Hogwarts open. Then the Dark Lord sends his forces down the mountain. It was just Death Eaters. There were also ravenous giants and Arachnids who fought on his side. Anyway, Harry, Ron, and Hermione find the diadem in the Room of Requirement but are intercepted by Draco Malfoy. His friends accidentally set the Room on fire and he’s trapped at the top of a large bookcase. Reluctantly, Harry saves Draco’s life. He then flashes and realizes that Nagini, Voldemort’s pet snake is the final Horcrux, and they’re meeting with Snape at the docks. But before that, they have to pass through a literal war zone. This scene is called Courtyard Apocalypse for a reason: people are getting killed, foundations are getting destroyed. It went down almost exactly how I pictured it in the books. With the cinematography and the musical score by Alexandre Desplat, there was nothing more I could have asked for. When the trio gets to the docks, they witness Voldemort killing Snape because since he was the one who killed Dumbledore, he must be the one who controls the Elder Wand. In his final moments, Severus gives a couple tears, instructing Harry to take them to the Pensieve. When he does use it, it unravels the biggest, most revealing plot twist of the series. Turns out that Severus Snape genuinely loved Harry’s mother, Lily Potter, and secretly conspired with Dumbledore to protect Harry from dark forces. Dumbledore also instructs Snape to kill him to gain Voldemort’s trust as an engineer to get to the true Horcrux: Harry himself. Surprisingly, this reveal has been met with some hate from fans wanting to see Harry finally face against the hidden villain. But personally, I never thought that Snape was a villain. I always knew that he had some grudge against his father, but to see his memories come to light showed off his tragic qualities. Topped off with Alan Rickman’s beautifully subtle performance, and we have perhaps the best character to come out of J.K. Rowling’s saga. Now that he knows the truth, Harry Potter accepts Voldemort’s offer to go into the Forbidden Forest, where he’s killed. But then he appears in Limbo with Albus Dumbledore. Albus tells him that he can return now that the Horcrux in him is dead, but leaves it open to interpretation. And in the final battle, Neville Longbottom shines. He takes the Sword of Gryffindor and slices Nagini in half. But in the duel, Harry is the victor and Voldemort is defeated, his remains floating in the air. His Death Eaters are defeated, Bellatrix is killed, there’s nothing evil left. It ends on such a bittersweet note. People have lied to loved ones, people have lost loved ones. Some characters just don’t stop. But now they have, and we won’t. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a satisfying sendoff to one of the most beloved fantasy stories in cinematic or literary history. A couple book changes don’t detract from the enjoyment and magical appeal of this series.

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