The final instalment of the eight-part cinematic adventure doesn’t disappointment. As promised, there was lots of action and a lot of cameo appearances by some of Hogwart’s most memorable.
The film starts immediately where Part One left off, by quickly recapping Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) as he attains the Elder Wand from the resting site of Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). From there, we are whisked to a cottage where Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupurt Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson) and others are resting after their fierce battle with the Death Eaters. Immediately, the setup has begun and they wind up in Gringotts in their search for the remaining horcruxes.
After a decade of films based off of seven books by author J.K Rowling, it’s expected that there would be a massive cast of characters, a lot of which were left out of the movies completely such as the delectably fiendish Peeves. With Part Two there is a return to Hogwarts. The wizarding school that was completely absent from Part One and with that, the teachers and students that we’ve become familiar with that have played important parts of the overall storyline over the years. A handful of them make cameos in this film, some in the blink of an eye like a sobbing Sybill Trelawney (Emma Thompson) while others have a line or two that, while it’s nice to see them one last time, felt as if they were included just to give them that final appearance such as with Filch (David Bradley).
Rupurt Grint played his best Ron ever in this film, losing much of the awkwardness that hovered over him for much of the previous films. Likewise, Julie Walters (who played Ron’s mother Molly Weasley) may have had the most triumphant moment in the film during her battle with the ever-wonderful Helena Bonham Carter (the person behind the despicable Bellatrix Lestrange).
One of the qualms I had with the film was with Neville’s (Matthew Lewis) character. While it may be an issue with the actual story itself, it may also be how he is suddenly portrayed as a fearless leader. Lewis’ character from the beginning was an awkward timid student who forces himself to stand up against the odds because he has to rather than because it was natural. When he makes his first appearance in this film, he’s in charge of the group of students at Hogwarts who are at odds with how the school is run now. It’s possible for a character to grow and evolve but something so drastic is hard for me to personally wrap my head around. Not so much in what he’s accomplishing but his persona as he does it.
Much of the film was centred around the buildup to the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. As the Death Eaters make their way to Hogwarts, the destruction begins as McGonagall (Maggie Smith) with the other professors and students prepare for their arrival by protecting the castle from their attack with spells and charms. The familiar shots and angles of the different areas both inside and outside of the castle differed from what we had gotten used to seeing over the years. Unfortunately, this weakens the emotional connection that has grown between viewer and setting. As subtle and trivial as such a thing can be, it’s what made the Dining Hall destruction scene or the burning of the Burrow from the previous films that much more intense.
Despite the number of deaths, the one to receive the most focus was on Snape’s (Alan Rickman) as we see only the silhouette fall as Nagini takes Voldemort’s orders. Whether one’s opinion on Snape’s character, this may have been the one scene to rival the ones from Part One as far as intensity goes, even moreso than the anti-climatic Voldemort one. However, due mention is given to when the camera pans over some of the semi-regulars whose bodies lay lifeless amongst the dead as the movie progresses such as Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave), Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) and Tonks (Natalia Tena).
As the film that wraps up the entire series that so many waited for since the first movie back in 2001, Part Two does it justice and does it well. Even the final moments, while it made it cringe in the novel, was done well in the film version. Brief but serving as a proper ending. As for the movie itself, admittedly, it doesn’t surpass my love for Part One as my favourite Harry Potter film but it completes it on nearly the same level.