I think that everyone here realizes that this is the finale chapter in a long running series and not just a stand alone movie. Thus it carries with it the burdens of expectations and anticipation, but it also benefits from pre-established characters, settings, backstory, etc. etc. The question to me going in was not so much how was this movie, but how well does this movie end the entire franchise?
Freaking Awesomely. This movie was so explosively good that I have to retroactively increase my respect for the franchise as a whole. If I had known things were building to THIS? I’d have paid much more attention to “Harry Potter and the Stone Goblet of the Azkaban Phoenix.”
I’ll take a quick second to address where I stand with this franchise as a whole. (If you’re looking for something more extensive, check out friend of the site PG Cooper’s blog, where they’re currently featuring a huge retrospective.)
Going in, I had a lot of respect for the franchise as a whole, but none of the individual movies impressed me all THAT much. I mean, I think every one of them was good, but none of them were great. Plus they all blended together for me. Which isn’t a good thing. The only thing I could tell you about each movie individually was whatever was related to the “Key word” in the title. Thus, I know “Goblet of Fire” was like the wizard olympics, and “Order of the Phoenix” had a phoenix, and “Prisoner of Azkaban” had Gary Oldman and a Were-mouse. That’s it, that’s like all I can recall. Other than that it’s all just this conglomeration of moving paintings, magic words and pointed wands, and flashbacks to high school chemistry class.
Pbbbbbbt. Not THIS movie. Gonna remember this one!
THIS is what I was waiting for out of this franchise. I’ve never read the books, I’m a movie fan, not a book club member, you know? But it always seemed as this franchise was holding back on the magic – on the fantasy elements. Like they were using them sparingly. Here’s an elf here, and oh, look, they’ve got some magic item or other, and hey now there’s some creature, but to me, for a lot of their runtimes this was a series about prep school kids being teachers pets.
Deathly Hallows 2? They bust it all out. Like a grand finale of a fireworks display, they push all in on this one. Fire breathing Dragons, Goblins, Trolls… or Ogres or some big freaking things, living statue warriors, enormous snakes and spiders. Spells being cast left and right, magic wand battles featuring colored laser streams straight out of “Ghostbusters”… this was just this non stop series of amazing fantasy sequences piled one on top of another on top of another. It was fantastic!
In between, they did find time to fill in the cracks in the story. How is Harry connected to Voldemort? Was Snipe good or evil? What’s Dumbledore’s story… All of these things I found enlightening, not distracting. As someone who didn’t know those details, I appreciated them finally being revealed.
But the main selling point is the action. No doubt about it. This is an explosive culmination of all of the groundwork they’ve been laying down for 10 years now. It all pays off. Characters die, Hogwarts takes a beating, good an evil clash on an epic scale. There are massive battles and individual ones. Each of the characters finds a way to contribute to the efforts and when it’s all said and done you’ve witnessed a spectacular fantasy masterpiece.
I have to say, the best compliment I can give is that this movie increased my respect for the franchise as a whole. I’m a much bigger Potter fan now than I was going in!
Of course, it’s still only the second most explosive “Harry Potter” ending ever.