Momentous, yes. But is it a good movie?
That's a question that absolutely no true-blue Harry Potter fan is asking right now, but film critics are obligated to comment on what's in theaters. So on Wednesday, they started churning out reviews of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in advance of its red carpet world premiere in London tomorrow.
What did the pros think of the David Yates-directed film, starring Daniel Radcliffe as the scarred Boy Who Lived and a bevy of British talent as his allies and enemies?
Well, do the phrases "outstanding capper" and "superb spectacle" mean anything to you? How about "hasty sendoff"? Hmm...
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The Hollywood Reporter called the eighth film in the $6.3 billion franchise a "massively eventful" and "stout" finale, one that justifies splitting the Deathly Hallows book into two movies.
"Yates has finally come into his own in this last installment, orchestrating a massive chessboard of events with impressive finesse and a stronger sense of dramatic composition than he has previously displayed," THR said of the director, who was responsible for the final four films in the series.
Special shout-outs went to Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom, and Maggie Smith, absent from Part 1 as Professor McGonagall, for achieving their scene-stealing potential in the finale.
TheWrap.com agrees that the film "brings its A-game from start to finish."
The probably somewhat biased blokes from London's Sun, Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph all gave the film high marks. The Sun called Deathly Hallows "dizzying and thrilling," noting how the tears were flowing in the audience at a preview screening.
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"Perhaps the greatest triumph of this final film is its ability to overcome the deficiencies of J.K. Rowling's writing," praised (or burned?) the Telegraph.
"This is monumental cinema," the paper continued, "awash with gorgeous tones and carrying an ultimate message that will resonate with every viewer, young or old: there is darkness in all of us, but we can overcome it."
The Standard said in a similar vein that the film makes up for the final book's "shortcomings," but that it doesn't equal the "epic quality you get in The Lord of the Rings movies."
Variety, however, mainly quibbled with the ending, concluding that "catharsis remains just out of reach" after all the audience is put through in 131 minutes (not to mention the seven films that came before).
In fact, this is the shortest film in the series to date.
"The climax feels emotionally muted and disengaged, and its anemic execution would be forgivable only if the entire series had not been building to this moment," writers reviewer Justin Chang.
But, once again, major props to Yates for achieving "a thrilling sense of convergence, of innumerable dramatic, thematic, romantic, emotional and musical threads from the past seven films being woven together at last."
So, we've got the film doing justice to the author's vision on one end and a little less justice on the other. But who cares, right?! Consider us (or at least our hearts) to be first in line!