REVIEW: 'Harry Potter' an Underwhelming Send-Off to a Classic Film Franchise

The magical world of Harry Potter has come to a dark and apocalyptic close.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is not really a movie. It’s the two-hour ending to another movie. Greater still, it’s the finale to a decade’s-long epic film series, which puts a huge burden on this film to deliver, big time.

Unfortunately all of the emotional momentum that “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” successfully built is lost in the second film due to its eight-month commercial break. Combining both films into a single cohesive one would have solved that problem. Having the seventh book split into two movies is only advantageous to Warner Bros, whose revenues will soar once again to Gringotts Bank, but not so much for the fans.

So much of what made the book so emotional is only subtly implied in the film. The loss of some beloved fan-favorite characters occurs off-screen, giving the audience no time to say farewell. The emotional back-story for Snape (Alan Rickman) is glossed over. There really is no sense of dread in the film as Harry begins the procession to his destined confrontation with Voldemort. And most importantly, after 10 years and eight films, the payoff is very fast and cheap.

It is, however, wonderful to see how Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco and especially Neville have grown over the franchise to brave and noble young adults, even though in this final installment they do little more than run and dodge spells and fight to the death. Maggie Smith’s heroic and triumphant return as Professor McGonagall will be a crowd pleaser.

Fans will also see glimpses of their favorite characters and old locations from previous films here and there. Once again, director David Yates does an excellent job at pacing the film and composer Alexandre Desplat’s chilling music adds more emotion and atmosphere to "Part 2" than any of the visuals.

To fully take advantage of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” you would be better off spending nearly five hours and watching parts 1 and 2 back to back to reclaim that emotional core. As the overall ending to the Harry Potter franchise, devout fans are given a bittersweet, but in the end, underwhelming sendoff.

Kudos go to Warners for creating a consistent and entertaining series over 10 years, but unlike the film’s tagline “It all ends,” the Harry Potter films will live forever.

3 Out of 5 Stars