And so we come to the end of a decade-long magical adventure that may constitute the most ambitious feat of both literary and cinematic story-telling in memory, with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
Literarily, it all springs from the imagination of J.K. Rowling, who took what started as a children's story and created a multi-volume tale for young and old, about the intertwined nature of good and evil, the perils and pleasures of growing up, the pressures of responsibility and power - and the fun of magical imagination.
Cinematically, it's been all over the map - from the candied excesses of the first films of Chris Columbus to the darker, more nuanced vision of filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron and Mike Newell and, finally, the steady hand of David Yates, who directed the final four of the eight Harry Potter films.
This final entry is, in fact, Part 2 of a dual-film approach to Rowling's final volume, a massive door-stopper of a book. It would have been interesting to see the two films combined into one three-and-a-half or four-hour film, a la the Lord of the Rings movies.
After all, fans of the work will sit through as much of this as they're given. And, to everyone else, it wouldn't matter; if you haven't already absorbed at least a few of the films or books by this point, you're not going to jump aboard what amounts to a fast-moving train. Releasing it as one film might have curbed some of the problems of Part 1, which had a slack section in the middle that matched the slack section in the book.
Still, I have to admit that my opinion of Part 1 changed upon re-viewing. As research before seeing the final film, I watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the sixth in the series) and Deathly Hallows, Part 1, back to back the night before the Part 2 screening. I found that Half-Blood Prince was the entry that seemed slower, because of the obligatory teen-romance material - while Hallows felt more solid, more of a piece, dealing with the bigger issues and ignoring the teeny-bop stuff.
Which leads right into Part 2, a dazzler of a finale. Here is the movie that answers all the questions, including the connection between Harry and Voldemort and the one between Harry and Snape.
Click here: This review continues on my website.