I'll just come right out and say it - I loved the Harry Potter books. Straight up. No denying. Loved them. I'd even go so far as to say that, without them, I wouldn't be nearly as avid a reader as I am now. I read the first one when I was ten in fifth grade and kept going from there. I was not always impressed by the films, most notably The Prisoner of Azkaban, but still, this franchise has been a part of my life for thirteen years. So, to say that watching the final film - the eighth all up - was an emotional experience would be something of an understatement.
The film opens with a montage-esque sequence of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) finding Dumbledore's (Michael Gambon) wand from his grave, which is a scene from the end of Deathly Hallows Part One. It continues on showing Snape (Alan Rickman) presiding over a very depressing-looking Hogwarts and basically the misery in the aftermath of the last two films. If you thought, like me, that Part One was a little slow, given that it was mostly aimless searching with a sense of absolute bleakness, then Part Two makes up for that with an enormity of action - given that it is mostly based on the part of the book entitled "The Battle for Hogwarts". So, yeah, lots of wizards fighting.
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) face their greatest battle yet with Harry even admitting at one point, "When did any of our plans actually work?" going on to say that they just "show up" and then everything goes wrong.
Despite being priorly impressed with these three as actors/friends in the previous films, I have to say that this film was their best performance yet, all of them portraying emotions that dug deep and made you feel them - tears, anger, love and all the rest.
Fiennes was just as creepy as ever as Voldemort, going for broke in all his cackling glory, owning the screen whenever he was there. A special mention, though, should go to Matthew Lewis, who played the bumbling boy-turned-man Neville Longbottom, who really brought it to this movie comedically and dramatically. Some would even go so far as to say he's the real hero of the franchise and, more especially, this film - but no judgments here.
All in all a fantastic time was had watching the final installment of a franchise that has affected so many, and I'm not afraid to say I even got teary a couple of times during the action. A great film and a fantastic final chapter. Be ye fairly warned, though, many beloved characters meet their deaths in this film. Ye have been warned. 8.5/10