‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2′ Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated October 5th, 2011 at 3:56 pm,

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw Reviews Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is all but impossible to review in the traditional sense. It’s not a standalone film (rather the second half of the Deathly Hallows tale), while also serving as the closing chapter to a movie franchise that has spanned eight films over the course of a decade, and become part of a worldwide phenomenon. As such, it’s more fitting to call it “a cinematic event,” rather than your run-of-the-mill movie release.

So, taking that all into account, it’s easy to see why the majority of moviegoers will be headed to the theater to see Deathly Hallows: Part 2 with little regard or care for what critics have to say about it. Still, the film must be reviewed, so the two big questions to address are: does this chapter end the series on a strong note? And is Deathly Hallows: Part 2 a good movie in its own right?

The answer to both questions is a resounding YES.

By now the story should be familiar, but in case it isn’t: Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has gone through life living in the shadow of that faithful night when the dark lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) murdered his parents and set the wheels of destiny spinning. All of Harry’s adventures with his friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) have led to a final quest, with the three young wizards searching for the splintered shards of Voldemort’s soul (Horcruxes), which are the key to the dark lord’s immortality.

However, Voldemort knows that Harry is aware of his weakness, and so the dark lord – in possession of a seemingly invincible wand – launches a final salvo against “the boy who lived,” his friends, allies and Hogwarts, the school that Harry has called home. At the end of the battle, only one of the fated pair will walk away.

voldemort harry potter and deathly hallows part 2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

Daniel Radcliffe and Ralph Fiennes in 'The Deathly Hallows, Part 2'

In my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 review, I said that one issue with that film was the static nature of the narrative, which saw our heroes engaged in a lot of “down time.” It was a necessary sacrifice, I knew, because properly setting the stage for the epic final showdown required quieter, more meditative moments of character and thematic development. One could then expect that Deathly Hallows: Part 2 would be a non-stop action thrill-ride – and while the movie definitely moves at a very brisk pace, and features many epic moments, I was actually pleasantly surprised by how wonderfully understated it actually was.

From the directorial style of franchise veteran David Yates to the melodic score by composer Alexandre Desplat, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 wisely remembers that while it is a movie, it is also the final link in an epic chain. As such, the film doesn’t make the mistake of being too overstated  or assaulting you with mind-numbing arbitrary action, ear-shattering sounds or overly-dramatic music. When the battle at Hogwarts rages, Yates favors more picturesque photography – shots of bodies lying to and fro, familiar structures being destroyed, or characters we know engaged in battle, the focus squarely on their desperate, defiant, or despairing expressions. The music, while still containing familiar traces of epic Potter melodies past, also allows for a lot of quieter, more contemplative tunes, which enhance the resonance of all that is happening onscreen.

The filmmakers thankfully remember that we’ve journeyed so far with these characters – through the books into the movies as well as throughout the movies up to now – and so they trust that we, the audience, will understand the poignancy and meaning of the events that are unfolding. This frees Yates and his team to present the subtle emotion and larger iconography of the story, rather than just the arbitrary thrill of elaborate action scenes, or the manipulative tricks of hammy dramatics.

ron hermoine harry potter deathly hallows part 2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

Harry, Hermione, and Ron in 'The Deathly Hallows, Part 2'

This same understated approach also works for the actors. By now, most people will be so deeply invested in these characters that they can pick up on the subtle nuances of their behavior, choices, expressions and banter, sparing the need for everything to be so pronounced or obvious. Watching Radcliffe, Watson and Grint is just moving, given where they began this franchise and how they’ve matured as  young people, characters and actors since those early years. The trio close off their roles “brilliantly,” with Radcliffe in particular showing why he will likely have a long career that extends well beyond this franchise.

Even Ralph Fiennes is given a bit more to do this time around, as Voldemort shows more depth than we’ve ever seen from him. With every Horcrux that is destroyed Voldemort’s immortality wanes, and Fiennes manages to let a wonderfully understated bit of humanity and vulnerability escape the dark lord’s evil persona – which is still pretty evil in this movie, I might add. The same goes for franchise staples Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) and Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon); they aren’t major players in this film, but both manage to add serious depth to their characters with what little screen time they have – which is a big feat after so many installments.

If there is one thing to criticize about Deathly Hallows: Part 2, it’s that a lot of the secondary characters and subplots are clearly shortchanged in the finale. Fans of the Harry Potter books have always been critical about what the films have left out  - especially starting around the fifth film, Order of the Phoenix, when Yates took over directorial duties. Having only read the first two books myself, I have always been in the camp of people who weren’t all that bothered by the streamlined narratives of the films, since they still seemed to tell a captivating story.

However, there are several events in Deathly Hallows: Part 2 that certainly felt diminished, since I had never really had the opportunity to explore or become invested in those aspects of the story. You could tell who in the theater had read the books, since their squeals of joy or sadness clearly marked moments where they understood things on a level the rest of us didn’t. Still, even in those instances, Yates does a fair job of keeping Harry and his emotions at the nexus of things, so that even if we don’t feel the impact of certain moments or developments, we can see and understand that he feels it.

New Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 posters Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

The 3D is fine, just not necessary.

As for the 3D: This film is a quality post-conversion 3D job, I’ll give it that, but it’s a post-conversion 3D job nonetheless. It doesn’t detract from the film – but for me, it didn’t really enhance it, either. The movie would be just as good in 2D – just like the rest of the films in the series have been.

In the end, by the time we get to the famous epilogue, it’s hard not to feel emotional. How often do you truly witness the end of an era, and how often does that feeling come while you’re watching a movie? Only a few times in a lifetime, I would bet – and this is certainly one of them.

If you’ve already seen the film and want to talk about various plot details without ruining it for others, head over to our Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 spoilers discussion.

However, if you’re still on the fence about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, check out the trailer below:


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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is now playing in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters.

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5

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  1. Thank you for the 10 years, JK Rowling.

  2. Incoming HP nerd rage for shorting it the 1/2 star…

    • From our spoiler disucssion post, I’m more worried the rage may come because I rated it so highly…

      • I honestly don’t get it myself. I read all the books and may very well be a HP nerd myself and yet I don’t get what all the rage is about. Yes certain things were left out, but overall it was a great movie. Although I accidentally clicked on 5 because I wasn’t paying 100% attention I think a 4 is fitting. Then you went and gave it a 4.5 and that’s good.

        In the end nerd rage is nerd rage and there is nothing that can be done about it. :/

      • As an avid Potter book fan I think I understand their rant. But there was no way they could put everything in there! Also the missing plot points began way before this movie so people should enjoy the movie as a movie.

        I would rate it as 4 as a movie. It has a compelling story and the main characters story was followed beautifully!

  3. What’s funny is that I was going to avoid the spoilers but then I remembered that I’ve read the books! What a need… lol

    • Déjà Vu. I’m almost entirely certain that was original. Almost.

  4. You gave this piece of crap 4.5 and TDK 4??!! How could you????!!!! You are the worst reviewer I have ever seen, eh, read!! What a crock!!!

    Ok, not really, but because of the review for the film that will not be named, and the subsequent pasting you got for it, I thought this was only fair. 8-)

    Great review, Kofi. I didn’t think I would be more excited to see this but after your review, I am. My only problem is that next week, this film may hurt Captain America.

  5. I’ve not read a single negative review. It got 97% fresh at Rotten Tomatos. My sister in-law, who is a big HP fan (dressed up last night and got in line at 2 p.m. for the midnight screening) thought it was excellent.

    I’ve always wondered why there is such a backlash by book purest who are upset that the film tranlations are not word for word like the book. Actually the same can be said of comic book purest, game purest, etc.

    Good review Kofi!

    • After Green Lanturn I think the comic purist are justified to cause all the backlash they want.

      • *Green Lantern – sorry, getting a bit tired here.

        • Are you speaking towards the movie or reviews?

          I just have a hard time understanding the backlash from all sides. But that’s just me.

          • Towards the movie. It was really aweful. More so if your a fan of the comics.

            • You really are tired…it’s awful not aweful ;).

              It’s interesting because I am fan of the comics and the character and enjoyed the movie. But like I said elsewhere it wasn’t worth more than 2 1/2 stars; which means it can be done a lot better and I expect the sequel to do better…I hope. But I will conceede that RR needs to be replaced.

  6. Nice Reveiw Kofi!

    And thank you JKR for this wonderful story you have given us! YOU ARE THE BEST! :D

  7. It was an amazing film. This is one of the best action blockbusters I’ve seen. Every action scene becomes so much better because you feel like every shot has it’s purpose, and they revolve around the story, characters and emotions. Not a single minute was wasted, and for that it deserves an applause.

    It was not perfect, there was some anti-climatic things going around, but overall it was very, very good. I think the one complaint we all have is that it’s too short, and you do not complain about that too often :p You sit there, and after 2 hours feel “I want more”, you know it’s a good movie.
    I feel like they could’ve easily added 10-20 minutes to give more time for the final battle and some more time to the death scenes.

    But I agree with the review, it’s great.

    • Extended version dvd maybe?

  8. 4.5?! Wowzers…I gave the movie a solid 3. For me, it really hurt the way they ended the first film and then started trucking along into part 2. I understand they couldn’t have a super long film but maybe picked a better spot to end it at? The ending of part 1 was just just emotional and really felt for the characters and the horrible things they are having to witness and go through. For me, Part 1 had more emotion, darkness that something really horrible is about to happen, better acting, and paying tribute to events or deaths. So many scenes in Part 2 that were just left with blah-like feel.

    I think I may be on the outside looking in with what everyone else is saying about the film though.

    • a 3 was as good as i could come up with.

      this was a movie , not a story at all

      it was like oh, by the way there was a big battle and oh yeah,

      some people were killed including voldy, now what’s for lunch?

      bland, bland , bland

      • I would give it 3 and a half stars. Just because the of the Batman Trailer at the first. :)

  9. Satisfying ending, definitely should’ve been longer. I think without additional time, it lacked suspense in the final battle, and other parts, and the problem was that without that time, it didn’t really take full effect/sink in that Harry Potter was over.

    But, it’s still a spectacle, emotional, and a great action fantasy adventure. The beginning lulled because it was essentially the middle of the movie before Act III took hold, but still perhaps my favorite film of the summer/year so far. :)

  10. Loved the movie. Great books. I should have waited to read them until after all the films were complete. I found myself comparing the two and really shouldn’t.

    What fun and I have all the older films on DVD so I can enjoy them again and again. As well as read the books again and again. Here’s hoping that JKR will not end it here and some day continue this wonderful story.

    • I usually do the same thing! I purposely did not read the book again before the movie so I wouldn’t do that. Will definately be reading it again now that I saw it and will still compare…can’t help it!

  11. Saw the film last night and was disappointed. I totally understand that they cannot put everything from the book in the movie, but I felt the movie was too short and rushed. I will definately be seeing it again now that all the anticipation is over.

    • Please people, there is a reason we have a SPOILERS FORUM. Please don’t tell us who dies (well, I think we all know of one character that will die) because we all have not read the books.

  12. Yes, great film, yeah, yeah.

    Now Kofi, what’d you think of that Dark Knight Rises teaser, eh? :)

  13. I see a lot of activity is going on in the spoilers thread. I would normally see what’s going on but no way am I doing that until I see the film.

    • thanks to me ;)


      • That spell worked out pretty well, huh? :-D

        • indeed ;)

  14. It was a great movie, and end to the franchise I grew up with. The nostalgia washed over me quite a bit. Remarkable job by Yates.

  15. seeing this on tuesday cause its half price =) and ima miss harry potter so much. gonna rewatch all the movies this weekend =)))

  16. best. movie. ever. Thank JKR for giving me the best 10 years of my life.

    • amen!

  17. Best. Movie. Ever. Thank you JKR for giving me the best 10 years of my life.

  18. Wow! 4 and a half stars!

    I will not be reading the review because I have not seen the movie yet (don’t want any spoilers). Some people might be surprised: I haven’t seen HP7.1 yet! I still need to watch that before I watch this one.

    I just really hope that Cap gets a score like this… I’m praying for at least a 4 star.

  19. I was so jealous of this movie!

    How do you top a film that (as Kofi mentioned) is the end of an era? The only two movie that I know have done such are this and Star Wars Episode III (I know, I know). This is one of those film events I can only dream of replicating. Sadly it’s not that simple.

    So long, Mr. Potter. Thanks for the good times.

  20. I don’t really have anything smart to say but yeah… I will always love Harry Potter.

  21. This film was the greatest of the Harry Potter series. Great performances by the entire cast, especially the leads. I loved every minute of this movie! Spectacularly well done!!!

  22. It is a beautiful conclusion to a Great Saga.. Brilliantly written and David Yates made it invincible with his superb direction.. BG score was lovely & the 3d is clear enough.. Technically brilliant.. Goodbye Harry ;(

  23. HARRY POTTER and the deathly hallows 2.

    GUARANTEED 95% + on rottentomatoes.
    GUARANTEED 1 BILLION + worldwide.

  24. I love this movie

  25. HOLY CRAP!!! Potter made 92.1 MILLION on Friday domestically and 180 MILLION worldwide..I mean regardless of whether this is for you or not that is UNBELIEVABLE!!92 million would be a phenomenal weekend let alone opening day..

  26. Now that the movies are over eventually I am going to read the books. I wanted to wait til the movies were done so I wouldn’t be disappointed with what I saw on the big screen. Been a fun geektastic 10 years.

    When Bellatrix was killed by Molly Weasley, the entire theater applauded, also when Nagini was decapitated. When Tonks and Lupin were found dead, the crowd started to weep. I’ve never seen such a committed audience in a theatre in my entire life. What an AMAZING experience it was.
    Of course, EVERYONE applauded at the end. And people cried.

    • @Roldan, hey there is a spoiler section to discuss this. Don’t put it in the review bc people reading the review might not have seen the film yet

  28. I thought “Part 2″ was excellent…I easily give it 5 stars out of 5. The acting was wonderful. I loved the action. I really loved the quieter moments, both those building tension/anticipation AND those that simply needed to be in the film). The effects were fantastic…though understated (not garish or over the top). THIS was the first summer blockbuster for me. THIS deserves to be #1. I’m actually beaming right now. :D

  29. Went to a 10:00 showing last night. Bought tix at 9. Ate popcorn in the lobby for twenty minutes and got in line. Good thing too because the line went out the door before they finally started seating. By about 12:15 the emotion in the theatre far exceeeded the physical cubic capacity of the theatre. Great story. Great movie. Kofi’s review is exactly right.