‘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. Just came from it and it definitely will be in the billionaire club. I don’t know about going as high as 4.5 but 4/5 would be my rating. Lots of action and emotion; a truly great way to end an era.

    • Dude, your nickname has always reminded me of Kah, the snake character in the Jungle Book. :)

      • That sounds like the snake Kahless was trying to eat (live, of course) the other day. 8-)

  2. might i reccomend IMAX 3D we saw it in IMAX 3D and it was SPECTACULAR!!!!!

  3. horrible

    absolutly horrible doesn’t even deserve a 1/2 star

  4. i agree

  5. just kidding

  6. same

    • TROLLS^

  7. Fantastic film! It was a great capper to a great series. I’m so glad they reshot the ending, it’s definitely an improvement.

    • @ Doug Forgive my ignorance but what do you mean by them reshooting the ending?

  8. amazing. usually people are talking and noisy in a movie. u could hear a pin drop the during the entire movie no a single person even breathed, i teared up at the end. been a amazing journey thank u JK rolling.

  9. While it was a really good ending to the series. There were some things I wish they had kept from the book. I won’t go into detail for those who have seen it yet on those subjects. As for the epilogue, I’m sorry but their appearances kind of ruined that scene for me. They should have gone with different, older looking actors for that scene imo.

    • Different actors for the epilogue would ruin the freaking ending. No offense.

  10. I give it a three, because I expected a great film and this was not it. This is one of those films that should have just followed the book. And that scene change that they needed Rowling’s permission for? Un-freaking-necessary. Seriously.

  11. This movie is amazing mind blowing!!!! MUST SEE!!!

  12. The movie is fantastic except for the epilouge at the end. The kids were well casts, but the main actors did not reflect the supposed 19 year difference. For a make up crew that can make Voldermort’s nose dissapear, they just didn’t impress me with there attempt at aging.

    Story wise, I didn’t care to know Potter does nothing interesting with the rest of his life except for getting married and having kids. Having not read the books, I asked my friends who have if the epilouge was more detailed, and they said it was, but it was still lackluster to the amazing finale before it.

    I know this film has been critized for NOT including things from the books, but I think that the epilouge is one scene that should have stayed in it, especially with the iconic shot of our heroes on the bridge just before it. The film is phenominal, but that final scene was not the last image I wanted for this decade spanning series.

    • I actually liked the makeup job they did for the trio. Anything more would’ve been over the top and cheesy. Besides, they are only in their mid-thirties at that point, it’s not like they would’ve physically aged a vast amount. The subtle differences we saw were spot on.

      The “normal-ness” of the epilogue is kinda the point. They’ve had nothing but a lifetime of drama – especially Harry. Pure happiness for him would be to simply settle down with a family of his own and just “be”. This is obvious when you’ve read the books. They all got what they wanted and that’s all that matters to us, the fans.

      I should also point out that the makeup team do not make Voldemort’s nose disappear. That’s all CGI.

    • Wow, if you haven’t read the books, don’t lecture on the movie. If you had read the series, you would be furious with the movies. It was nothing, and I mean nothing compared to the books.

  13. i loved the movie, the only thing i didnt like was the final Harry Voldemort showdown, the book had it so much better than the movie did, i was very disappointed with that.

    • Totally agree with luketheduke, just saw the movie a solid 4/5, just reread the final battle in the book and I agree it’s actually more intense in the book than on screen…strange, should be the other way around normally.

      I just felt there was a lack of final words between Harry and Voldi (Also the cloak was completely cut from the movies finale!), in any case I highly recommend all viewers to read the last book you will enjoy it even though you already saw the movies!

      BTW: Daniel R. still is no good actor….I’m really sorry to say, don’t hurt me :-)!

  14. The final battle was good but it just missing something…maybe I just don’t like the idea that they were fighting on their knees. If only they were to lock wands and stand up during the fight than it would be a compltete battle.

  15. I thought the epilogue was very well done. I loved it! It was one of my favorite parts of the movie!!!

  16. I was really disappointed with how the movie FAILED to capture Snapes true role and sacrifices.. I remember after reading the final book, really feeling something like a shock and awe..after discovering the truth..I believe that the last book should have been named HP and the story of Severus Snape… In the movie, this major revelation seemed very “oh by the way heres what Severus did now lets get on with the big fight” As if a MAJOR part of the storyline and some serious character back story was tacked on to a nice shiny death scene..which is really what everyone wanted to see…

  17. favorite parts of the film were: bellatrix lestrange dying, professor mcgonnal saying, “i’ve always wanted to use that spell”, the invisible walls of hogwarts detoriating, voldemort dying, and the epilogue.

  18. The movie was a total disappointment … pure and simple. Did the screenwriter even read the book? I found myself getting severely irritated throughout the entire movie. They changed up everything! I was sooooo looking forward to the battle scene in the Great Hall … and it didn’t even take place there in the movie! No detail of the final battle came close to what was in the book. Talk about a total bastardization. I feel cheated.

  19. I was very disappointed with this movie. To anyone who has read the Harry Potter books from the very beginning will be able to see, quite easily, the ignorance in the movies. So many things were wrong with the movie. Yes, I understand that “movies are different from the books!” argument. But there were so many inaccuracies by the end of the movie, I was disgusted. For starters, Voldemort does NOT feel when a Horcrux is destroyed. Ollivander does NOT know about the Deathly Hallows, just the Elder Wand. Harry does NOT snap the Elder Wand. Avada Kedavra leaves no traces of physical damage, yet after Voldemort had slain countless goblins and people, they were bleeding. And possibly, one of the most quizzical one; the fact that the Dark Lord, back handed, pimp slapped, and kicked people. These are three of over 124 inaccuracies that I counted during the movie. It was a disgrace to the book and deserves no more than 1 star out of 5.

    • Dis…

      I HAVE read the books and companion pieces multiple times, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the film series. Yes, quite often, the films deviated from the novels (sometimes, not so effectively; sometimes, VERY effectively), at no point did I feel cheated by the changes. I thought the films did a superb job of translating the story of Harry, his companions, and his world onto the big screen. Are you absolutely sure you were not so busy counting “mistakes” that you forgot to watch the film???

      Oh, well, to each his own…


      • Ha, yeah, I felt that maybe I was too harsh the first time around, so I went last weekend and saw it again. Unfortunately, more than anything, more glaring deviations were found. Harry Potter is my favorite book series, so I have extremely high (and I’ll admit, unreasonable) expectations. But, I’m glad that you, having read the books, enjoyed them. It probably is just me then. :)

        • Diss

          Just try not to think of the movie being adapted by a book. It works, trust me. Just enjoy the movie as it is dont think of all the differences.

  20. ilove emma watson

  21. As someone who has not read the books i felt let down from the finale. I know about the pivotal scenes in the book and they didn’t translate that well into the movie. Even the non pivotal scene like when Bellatrix dies. I felt no involvement in watching that scene. We didn’t get to see the amazing battle of bella v ginny, hermoine and luna or voldys 5 on 1 battle. or the battle in the great hall. It was a good movie but could have been so much more emotional. Molly vs bellatrix was my favorite part in the book and in the movie i expected molly to be running and screaming “Not my daughter you b****” cuz she just lost her son and now almost lost her daughter but there was no real emotion. At no point during the duel did i have my imaginary wand in had on the edge of my seat rooting for molly. I didnt feel pull into the story just felt like i was watching a movie. Same for some other scenes. It was a good movie dont get me wrong but i expected better for the finale

    • I agree with you in regards to that scene-it was very anticlimactic moment whereas when reading the scene in the book I was jumping out of my skin with joy!

  22. I’ve read the books and I am content with the final film of this terrific franchise. You could never get 100% likeness from any book to a movie, seeing them cutting the last book into two parts boosted their money and showed willingness to see the substance of the book through and through. Some scenes should be theatrical, thus, changes must be made. The acting of the characters matured as well as the context. Remember there’s a big difference in novels and visuals. The franchise tries to captures reader fans and movie goer fans, and in the process expanding the market. For me an example of a movie which really corrupted the book is Percy Jackson. inaccuracies are expected, its an attempt to make it theatrical. Overall Im impressed and content.

  23. This was a brilliant finish one of my generations greatest sagas!

  24. This is a perfect example of what WAY TOO MUCH MONEY will do to anything. Wretched excess is all that’s left. I really feel sorry for my kids, I really liked this franchise for a long time, I thought it was a well done timeless morality tale that was a worthy banner for a generation that mine (Gen X) didn’t have. I kinda grew up with the Harry Potter franchise as much as my children have, the themes got more mature and complex as the series went along in the books but the films ever since the Goblet of Fire have gone right down the drain and the last two were so bad I really consider it offensive. I can only assume the filmmakers were so burnt out by this point (and comes out of their minds) that they just wanted it all to be over. I mean seriously, that flashback to jam six chapters worth of extrapolation into a two minute readthrough between Snape & Dumbledore, they weren’t even in character.

    After 15 years that borders on violation. What is there for a young person to connect to if not this? That’s a bad taste in my mouth after many years. I guarantee the author is mortified..

  25. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I watched it with my oldest first to take in the movie. I was riveted by all that was going on within a short timeframe. I have read all of the books, the last one twice, and I find when I try to leave out the books as much as possible when I watch these films b/c otherwise I always get disappointed with movies. Yes, there were things about this film that bothered me, specifically the last scene. I absolutely loved how it was written in the book and was excited to see it visually, but that left me disappointed. Otherwise, when I look at each movie as a whole (a serial story whole), I absolutely love these movies and enjoy watching every one of them. I will definitely be buying this film when it comes out.

  26. I love harry potter as a child and even growing up and now in my teens I can give a real review in which Part 1 of the movie stood up too the Harry Potter name but Part 2 pissed me off in which the fight scenes were dynamic but the seen with Blacks cousin and the fighting should have been bigger instead of a few wand movements and she dies I mean it was said she was so skilled that she could deflect at least two of dumbleoores spells at least the mother Weasly and daughter wealsly could have dueled her in a hall alone for atleast 10 minutes and the battle between harry and voldermort it was too easy and too corny in which when his last soul thing was destroyed they could have him return to his human face form instead of just evaporating and him and harry could of had a toe too toe duel until harry really almost lost and the wand flew out of Voldermorts hand and he tried to pick up harry’s wand and him and harry did a final battle with voldermort using the killing curse and harry using some other and Harry’s new elder wand over powering voldermort and voldermort’s killing curse hitting him and then since voldermort really had no soul he hit the ground and a turned into his form on Goblet of Fire and then he might have evaporated and after wards harry should have just took the wand and broke like he did instead of back into Dumbledoores crypt. also when harry spoke to dumbledoore he should have stopped and looked at him and acted surprised when he said he was a holcrux that was the only part wrong with that scene and the rest was great with the kids at the end and everything else was great. Eric Kirk

    • movie spoiler!

  27. I am super relieved that the Movie had all intention to end this adventure with a future adventure in-tow. I wish i hadn’t cried so much because I kept having to rewind it to hear the words. Luckily, my whole mind changed when i began to see light at the end of the tunnel.. thank you warner brothers…and J.K. Rowling.. amazing work…

  28. This was a really good movie One of the best and the darkest in the series.

  29. The only issue I had with the movies was with Harry Potter 7 Part 2. I was extremely disappointed with the final epic battle. I loved in the book the battle between Ginny, Hermione and Luna verses Bellatrix, and then when Molly stepped in. I think that could have been expanded more. Also, I was disappointed that Harry and Voldermort didnt duel with everyone watching them in the end. The explanation to the audience of the relationship between Harry and Voldermort was lost, because this was taken out. And, finally, why was there no response when Harry finally did kill Voldermort? No one in the movie recognized what Harry had done. Other than that, I really did enjoy this movie franchise!