Almost 10 years after the cinema release of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, the most financially successful film franchise in history reaches its spectacular conclusion.
Millions of readers already know the narrative twists that lie ahead for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson).
There may be no dramatic tension but that’s of little consequence to ardent fans because David Yates’s hugely entertaining adaptation of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 bids fond farewell to characters we have grown to love.
Certainly, the eighth film has its niggles. The final chapter rests heavily on the shoulders of Radcliffe and while he has improved, he still doesn’t possess the emotional range to provide a connection to Harry’s grief.
Watson and Grint shine in their few scenes including that long-awaited kiss, and both sob convincingly as their teenage wizards come to terms with the enormity of their loss.
It may not be the best film of the series – that honour still belongs to Alfonso Cuaron’s stunning interpretation of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. However, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 brings down the curtain in style.
The film opens with Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) stealing the powerful Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s grave, which he will use to slay Harry.
Dastardly acolytes Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) and Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) press forward with their plans, while Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) becomes headmaster at Hogwarts, which is encircled by Dementors.
Elsewhere, Harry, Ron and Hermione continue their mission to track down the final Horcruxes, which contain fragments of Voldemort’s soul.
The quest leads to Hogwarts where fellow students Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) are ready to lay down their lives to protect Harry from Death Eaters including Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton).
The film builds relentlessly to the final battle at Hogwarts, which is brilliantly realised.
Aside from the central trio, the film belongs to Lewis as heroic Neville and to Rickman’s treacherous teacher, whose tragic history is revealed in a flashback.
There will be few dry eyes when the credits roll.
STAR RATING: ***