This is it, the official end of my childhood. Harry Potter, a film series that I have grown up watching and have been aging with alongside the characters has come to an end. And the end is fantastic. Be warned, in order for me to divulge my true thoughts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, I have to spoil the ending of the film, but to those who haven't read the book yet, you deserve spoilers.
To start of with, this has the best acting of the entire series. Part 1 gave Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint time to shine, part 2 gives Matthew Lewis, Alan Rickman and Warwick Davis time to shine. Matthew Lewis gives a terrific performance as Neville Longbottom, fully rounding out his character as someone who will sacrifice everything for his friends which is actually handled better than in the book. Plus it's a really nice touch to see that Neville and Luna become a couple at the end of the film. Warwick Davis is both suitably slimy as Griphook, with the make-up effects being a key factor in the slimy nature of Griphook, and heroic as Professor Flitwick. Out of all the cast however, Alan Rickman does the best job as Snape and gives the best performance from the entire series. Rickman can easily go from menace to fear to sadness. This is especially highlighted in the reveal of Snape's true character and the scene where Snape cradles Lily Potter's body almost brought me to tears, sold by the genuine grief that we see in Alan Rickman's face and I will bet that Rickman will be getting some award nominations for his performance.
The plot and the dialogue follow the book really closely, with whole sections of dialogue from the book being included into the film and yes, that does include Mrs Weasley's badass line before she kills Bellatrix LeStrange. Plus, there are a few scenes that are better than the book, mainly that you see Ron and Hermione destroy Hufflepuff's cup, complying with the film principle of show-don't-tell. I don't think that everything from Deathly Hallows could be included in one film and as a result I feel that the 2 film format really allowed David Yates to transfer as many plot details as he could into the film and I would love to see a reedit of Deathly Hallows, combining both parts into one film.
The action scenes in the film are phenomenal, the effects team have really outdone themselves with this film. The set design for both Gringotts and Hogwarts shows how talented the design team is and how faithful they follow JK Rowling's descriptions. The final battle between Harry and Voldemort is much better than in the book, having Harry and Voldemort actually fight each other rather than it being a talk between them. This way, you can see just how powerful Voldemort is and how determined Harry is to destroy Voldemort, no matter what the consequences, even throwing both himself and Voldemort off of one of the Hogwarts towers. The effects also show clearly how the Elder Wand doesn't work properly for Voldemort by having it crack the more he uses powerful magic. The action scenes also give each character time to shine, with Harry, Neville and Mrs Weasley coming off the best through this. It also must be said that the effects for the 19 years later are incredible, you can clearly see that Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Bonnie Wright have been aged but the effect is incredibly subtle and you would never know that it was an effect unless you were looking extremely carefully, this is the technique I like to call, "Benjamin Buttoning".
However, there are a few niggling problems that prevent this from becoming the perfect Harry Potter film. There are a few scenes that were clearly meant to be included in the film (the extra stuff at Shell Cottage with Lupin, Dumbledore's backstory, Harry repairing his wand and Peter Pettigrew's death) and you can tell that it was cut out of the film at the last minute. Through this, I'm hoping that all of the cut material is being saved for an extended edition for DVD. If not, then I can understand why they cut some stuff out, for time constraints and to make sure that the film doesn't drag on for too long with stuff of little importance happening (i.e Chamber of Secrets (I'm not saying Deathly Hallows Part 1, the camping stuff was important to show how isolated Harry, Ron and Hermione were from the rest of the wizarding community as well as showing the bonds between the three strengthening and the quest to find the Horcruxes being developed due to this)).
In conclusion, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a fantastic ending to a series that has defined my childhood. Whilst not my personal favorite of the Harry Potter films due to the slight niggles (Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favorite), if this was a race, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 lost by a fraction of a second and is so close to being my favorite and I highly recommend you see it, preferably in 2D as the 3D is pointless.
My Rating: 4.5/5
And so, my childhood has come to an end with the finale of the defining film series of it. Harry Potter, you shall be dearly missed, at least until about 5 years later when Warner Bros plans to cash in on the series by making more stuff related to Harry Potter.