The darkest, most violent and action-filled installment of the “Harry Potter” series yet takes viewers full circle, answering questions long left wondered and fulfilling the destiny of “the boy who lived.”
In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II,” Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) continue their search for horcruxes, objects that hold a piece of Lord Voldemort’s soul in them and are the key to his destruction.
The story picks up where it left off in the first installment of the seventh book, after the trio fled the Malfoy Manor with the dying house-elf Dobby. Harry and his friends bury the elf before heading to Gringotts in search of another horcrux. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has in his possession the elder wand, stolen from the casket of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) now runs Hogwarts as a violent tyrant, and things are looking pretty bleak for what’s left of The Order of the Phoenix.
The destruction of the pieces of his soul does not go unnoticed by Voldemort. In some of his most cruel, bloody, and horrifying moments yet, he shows just how evil he can be. Battle after battle keeps hearts pounding, from a dragon-led Gringotts escape to the final duel scenes at Hogwarts, where Harry is not the only one in on the action.
While other much-loved characters — including Hagrid and Ginny Weasley — are seen a bit less in this film than in the others, other supporting characters get their chance to shine. Neville Longbottom stands up to Voldemort and Molly Weasley takes on Bellatrix Lestrange, played by a very convincingly evil Helena Bonham Carter. And don’t worry: One of our favorite lines from the book makes it into the movie, when Molly calls Bellatrix something other than a witch. (Calling all Muggles: Ten years of Harry Potter [SLIDESHOW])
Director David Yates creates a dark and ominous tone — there’s death in almost every other scene — with gray, washed out colors dominating the screen. As Harry plunges further into the depths of Voldemort’s mind, we see more of the terror that lies behind those snake-like eyes, enough to disturb viewers of any age. In the end, Harry learns what really happened all those years ago when Voldemort tried to kill him, and what his true destiny is.
With intense battle imagery that can only be compared to “Lord of the Rings” and the classic struggle between good and evil, J.K. Rowling’s expansive book/movie franchise ends with a bang, in an action-filled adventure worthy of adoring fans’ ten years of love and devotion. The only disappointment in this film is that, eventually, it had to end.