** (out of four)
It all. Comes down. To this. Actually, the final showdown between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and the dark forces of evil doesn’t feel that spectacular on screen. Still, seemingly the entire planet can’t wait to see the conclusion of a series in which only two of the movies (“Goblet of Fire” and “Half-Blood Prince”) have checked “yes” in the entertainment column and “no” in the boring column.
The buzz: Don’t forget, this review doesn’t comment on the Potter books, just the movies. Gladly the final installment—taken from the second part of the last book in J.K. Rowling’s series—clocks in at a, um, comparatively lean 118 minutes, though yet again the movie adds briefly appearing new characters while offering few new flourishes for existing ones.
The verdict: Epic battle? Please. Director David Yates moves at only two speeds: Super-charged yet not impactful and labored, faux-majestic stillness. He constantly misjudges moments by underplaying events that should be cool, like jumping off of a dragon. “Part 2” has more action and special effects than “Part 1,” but even fewer memorable sequences. For the last time: Uninteresting characters pointing wands and firing CGI sparks looks hokey, not cool or magical. The movie checks off bits from the book (horcruxes, resurrection stones, yadda yadda) without generating any excitement, and then tacks on a ridiculous epilogue that spoils what was almost a poignant moment before. It's the end of the wizard as we know him, and I feel nothing.
Did you know? Maybe there was a time when You Know Who (Ralph Fiennes) was scary, but at this point his Jigsaw-like whispering is just annoying. You’re a villain, dude, it’s OK to yell.
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