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

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Theatrical Release: 7/15/2011

Theatrical Release: 7/15/2011

Synopsis

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) still need to find Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes and destroy them. They have tracked one of the last Horcruxes to Hogwarts, but that does not mean that finding the Horcrux will be easy. The wizarding school is massive, and it is full of secret chambers and rooms, so the number of hiding places within the school are seemingly infinite. Meanwhile, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has gotten his hands on the Elder Wand, and he has set his sights on Hogwarts, the last real obstacle standing in his way of achieving unopposed power.

Finding the hidden Horcrux will be difficult, especially with Voldemort and his legions of dark wizards, Death Eaters, and magical creatures having reached the wizarding school. Harry needs time to find the Horcrux, and it is time he does not have. He will need to rely on the professors of Hogwarts, the Order of the Phoenix, and many of the older students at the school to buy him as much time as possible. If Harry Potter cannot find the Horcrux before Voldemort kills him, then Voldemort will be unstoppable and he will surely bring darkness and death upon the world. Harry Potter and the heroes of Hogwarts are the last line of defense against the dark lord, who is about to bring all out war to the wizarding school.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Rising Action (+5pts)

The Deaths (-3pts)

The Battle of Hogwarts (+10pts)

Too Easy (-3pts)

Harry Potter & Voldemort (+8pts)

The Aftermath (-1pts)

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Pro: The Rising Action (+5pts)

This movie was an action-packed, epic, blockbuster type of movie, but I thought the filmmakers did a great job of setting everything up and pulling the audience into the story before the Battle of Hogwarts began. Right off the bat, the movie started with burying a character that died in the last movie. There were also a bunch of shots showing Hogwarts, with Dementors looming ominously around the perimeter, and various other shots showing the current state of things. It was a ominous opening that really effectively set the tone of this movie, and pulled me right into it.

Then there was Harry, Ron, and Hermione's journey to Hogwarts. They were not ready for Hogwarts right at the beginning of this movie, as they still had some Horcruxes to locate before heading back to the wizarding school. Their journey took them to Gringott's Bank, which consisted of a fun heist, with blockbuster action, and it helped ramp up the excitement going into the Battle of Hogwarts. The rising action of this movie did not last long, as a huge portion of this movie was the climactic Battle of Hogwarts, but it did a great job of pulling me into the movie, setting an ominous and uncertain tone, and establishing the captivating stakes that would keep audiences invested throughout the long climax of the movie, which also served as the climax of the entire franchise. The filmmakers did not have a ton of screentime to spend on rising action in this movie, especially considering pretty much the entire last movie was rising action, but the filmmakers managed to do a lot with the time they had, and it really amplified the excitement of the Battle of Hogwarts.

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Con: The Deaths (-3pts)

I liked the almost afterthought way that some of the deaths were presented in this movie. The lack of attention that some deaths got made this feel like a real war, as it made the deaths feel surprising, random, and without reason. That being said, I think these deaths would have been a lot more impactful if the filmmakers had shown them happen on screen. I understand that in the book, these deaths occurred when we were following Harry doing something else, and Harry did not see them, so neither did we, and that made complete sense.

That being said, the filmmakers went in another direction with the movie, as they showed a lot of the Battle of Hogwarts, even when Harry was not present. As such, the filmmakers had the opportunity to show some of these deaths in a really impactful way, leaning into the suddenness and randomness in which death sometimes comes for people. Unfortunately, the filmmakers did not do that. They did not show these deaths at all, and it made the deaths of these characters feel like an afterthought by the filmmakers, which took a lot of the potential impact out of them.

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Pro: The Battle of Hogwarts (+10pts)

This was such an epic movie, and that was because of how epic the Battle of Hogwarts was. The Battle of Hogwarts was a good portion of the movie. It was as if the filmmakers treated the last seven movies as rising action, and treated this as a massive climax for the whole thing. The stakes, the intensity, and the excitement in these movies never felt higher than they did during the Battle of Hogwarts. It was an action-packed final chapter for this saga, but the filmmakers did an excellent job at maintaining my interest and keeping things exciting and suspenseful throughout the entire battle, which again, was a good portion of this movie.

The filmmakers delivered the kind of climax the film-goers would love, and Harry Potter fans were hoping for, and I thought it greatly exceeded my expectations. They managed to deliver a ton of epic, magical action, but they also periodically dialed down the action, giving the audience time to process what had happening so far before quickly ramping the action back up. The intensity came from desperately following Harry as he searched for the Horcrux in the middle of the chaos. The suspense came from not knowing what would happen, in addition to the weight that came from knowing who had died so far. It was the epic climax that this franchise felt like it was always building toward and it absolutely did not disappoint. Some of these movies have been better than others, but the filmmakers managed to deliver a truly fantastic, climactic finish that ended this franchise with a satisfying bang, and I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire thing.

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Con: Too Easy (-3pts)

While the climax of this movie was probably as epic and awesome as any climax could be, the final moments of it just felt too easy. This was not the sort of climax in which the protagonist persevered or outsmarted the antagonist. The two just went head-to-head, with beams of magic colliding, and the victor just seemed to win too easily. Was it visually cool? Yes, definitely, but it did not seem like the victor did anything to earn their win.

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Pro: Harry Potter & Voldemort (+8pts)

This movie was the final movie in a saga, and as such, it was able to benefit from the great storytelling from all of the movies that came before it. This entire saga was about a feud between two characters: Harry Potter and Voldemort. While I thought the final showdown of the movie felt a little easy for the winner, it was still an emotional, impactful, and climactic scene, and that was because of the build-up of this showdown over the course of all eight movies. The two characters had a feud that began in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and every subsequent movie only added more fuel to that fire. If you had seen each of the movies in this franchise so far, and then saw this movie, it was impossible not to be incredibly invested in the final showdown. It was the driving force between this entire movie, and the entire franchise, and the filmmakers managed to stick the landing in a truly satisfying way, capitalizing on a now iconic feud that had been established so effectively throughout this saga.

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Con: The Aftermath (-1pts)

This was an incredibly minor issue, but I thought the make-up and visual effects looked pretty bad during the final scenes of the movie. The filmmakers tried to age-up certain characters and I did not think it looked realistic at all. The effects just were not convincing, and it sort of took me out of the movie. Fortunately, the entire movie that led up to this was great and it would have been such a minor issue anyway, so this had relatively no impact on my enjoyment of the movie, and the fact that I mentioned it here at all means that I could not think of more significant issues.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: A- (91pts)

Watching this movie in 2020, it is easy to see a pretty big comparison between this movie and Avengers: Endgame. Both movies were the second parts of a greater story—with Avengers: Endgame being the second part of the story that began with Avengers: Infinity War. That is an easy comparison, but is not the big comparison that I was referring to. That big comparison is that both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Avengers: Endgame served as the final chapter in a massive saga.

Both movies had a whole franchise to capitalize on, with everything culminating in a final climactic chapter of an overall story that began a full decade earlier. As great as it was, I do not think it would have been nearly as epic of a movie if there was not a whole franchise of foundation to build upon. There are not many movies that have had this opportunity—with Avengers: Endgame being the most recent one that comes to mind—but the filmmakers had a unique opportunity here, and I thought they capitalized on it really effectively. I had some minor issues with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but it was a truly epic blockbuster that served as a climactic, satisfying, and emotional final chapter to a great cinematic franchise.