This is it, folks. The final film for my favorite series' (books and films). It would have been so sad if it turned out to be terrible, especially since a lot of people were waiting on Part 2 to form their opinion on the film as a whole (with Part 1). So how did it do? The film picks up right where Part 1 left off. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has gotten the Elder Wand--the most powerful wand in existence--while Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are still trying to figure out how to find and destroy Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes (items that include bits of Volde's soul that they have to destroy before they can kill him). The search takes them from Gringotts bank to Hogwarts where they will face off for the final battle... but not without other final confrontations, like with Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) and Severus Snape (Alan Rickman). At this point, it's a question of who is good, who is evil, who will live, and who will die, (and who ends up together)... all of which, of course, you know if you've read the books.

It's really hard to talk about the film without doing a book-to-film comparison. So to avoid falling into a trap of writing a review that won't satisfy book readers only or movie watchers only, I'm going to split this review (much like the last book) into 2 parts. The first part will get the book comparisons out of that way, and then we'll move on to the straight movie stuff (the more technical aspects, I suppose). So if you don't care to read my thoughts on how it was as an adaptation, you can skip this first part. Otherwise, keep reading!


Part 1 took the majority of the book in its time frame, leaving Part 2 with maybe the last third of the story. The only major sequences left include Shell Cottage, Gringotts, Hogsmeade, Return to Hogwarts, The Diadem Hunt/Room of Requirement, The First Battle, The Prince's Tale, The Forbidden Forest, King's Cross, The Final Battle, The Short Ending, and The Epilogue. I know that actually sounds like a lot, but a bunch of those aren't incredibly long even in the book. And like any other adaptation, there are changes, but I personally don't feel any of them are for the worse (except maybe one). So let's look at the scenes (I'll lump some of the lesser ones together when I talk about them).

1) Shell Cottage/Gringotts. The whole sequence is done very closely to the book. Shell Cottage is a short build to the upcoming action sequence, giving us background on Wand Lore and a bit on Bellatrix's vault. Of course, this builds up to the heist scene which is only really different in that the Death Eater (Travers, I believe) isn't there, but is replaced by another goblin that works at the bank. The other main difference is that the duplicating treasure in the vault doesn't burn them, but it does still duplicate. It's a thrilling sequence that ends in an epic dragon ride.

2) Hogsmeade/Return to Hogwarts. The Hogsmeade bit in the book isn't all that huge--it's just the Trio setting off alarms upon return and getting taken in to safety by Aberforth. They get some more background on Dumbledore before Neville shows up and takes them back to the castle. This essentially stays the same. There were a few minor things cut, but nothing major. Most of Dumbledore's background had been removed from both films anyway. I did like, though, that they at least attempted to give some explanation for Harry's mirror shard that he had in Part 1, just still not how he ended up getting the shard in the first place. Still, at least they gave some sort of explanation and didn't just leave it completely open.

The Return to Hogwarts was mainly getting the Trio back and re-introducing practically every student and teacher that has ever been in the series (and was still alive). They didn't bring everyone back here, and obviously there wasn't the big "Percy redemption" scene since all the Percy stuff has been cut from the films. There was a scene added that was interesting with Harry confronting Snape in front of students (the scene is kinda in the book, just a bit different. It's clever, though.

3) The Diadem Hunt/Room of Requirement. This is pretty much exactly how I remember it in the book, with the exception of I believe Blaise Zabini in the place of Crabbe (since the actor was pulled out of the film after being caught with drugs). We really haven't seen school ghosts in these films for a while (I believe since the fourth film with Moaning Myrtle), so seeing one here (and the effects slightly different) was a fun sight. Not to mention the Room of Requirement scene was just as suspenseful as when I read it for the first time. Also during the Diadem Hunt is a scene with Ron and Hermione going into the Chamber of Secrets to get a Basilisk fang, something that was only mentioned in the book (since we just followed Harry). Purists might have issues with it, but I thought it was fantastic seeing that set again when the kids are all grown up (and of course the great kiss that follows).

4) The First Battle/The Prince's Tale. There's not much to discuss on the First Battle, since it's mainly just running around the school fighting Death Eaters, but it is done very nicely and quite epically. You still don't get to see a lot of the funnier moments from the books, though (like Mandrakes and throwing crystal balls). However, what everybody wants to hear about is The Prince's Tale. It's one of the best moments in the entire series in the books, and I do think it translates very well to the screen. There are, of course, a couple moments that were left out (the complete "Snape's Worst Memory" scene)--but you still fully understand what's happening. I think this scene did just like in the book: It makes you flip emotions on two characters you've been following the whole series. So yes, I believe it continues to be one of the best sequences of the films, as well.

5) The Forbidden Forest/King's Cross. The Walk to the forest was a devastating read the first time I read it. Yes, I cried. There's a good moment between Harry and Ron/Hermione, but the rest of it is slightly rushed, losing a bit of the emotion of that final walk. Though you still get the same emotions from the Resurrection Stone scene, which was done very well... all leading up to the "confrontation" with Voldemort, also done well. For King's Cross, the only real difference was that Harry wasn't totally naked when it starts out. Otherwise, it's almost totally the same as the book (including the final line by Dumbledore).

6) The Final Battle. This is where things change up from the book quite a bit. After Harry reveals himself in the book, he hops under the Invisibility Cloak with Neville, they're caught on fire, and Neville jumps out and kills Nagini. The fight moves into the Great Hall, where Harry and Voldemort chat (mostly Harry taunting Voldemort and Harry explaining why Voldemort can no longer hurt them--the power of love and sacrifice, just like Harry's mother did with him). And Mrs. Weasley fights Bellatrix. Only a couple of these are in the actual film. The battle rages on, Mrs. Weasley does do her epic line and battle, and Harry and Voldemort continue on, even flying and merging throughout the sky at one point. Ron, Hermione, and Neville all attempt to attack Nagini. All of this culminates in yet another Priori Incantatem-esque sequence ending with Neville killing Nagini and Voldemort being destroyed almost simultaneously.

These changes are both good and bad. I do love how they juxtaposed attempting to kill Nagini with Harry and Voldemort's fight. That was a brilliant concept that was pulled off very well. However, what was lacking was the explanation of how Voldemort couldn't harm them, as well as Harry's taunting and calling him Tom, showing he was no longer afraid. Granted, the book's version of how Voldemort dies always felt a bit anticlimactic to me, and the film at least attempts to remedy that, which I applaud.

7) The Short Ending/The Epilogue. After this, the book just kind of... ends. And then we get the much-discussed (in both book and film) epilogue. The film is similar to the book, where they just kind of go off, say a few lines, and it ends. The epilogue is just as cheesy as in the book, and almost word-for-word (but without the sidenote that Neville is a professor at Hogwarts). And the epic swell of the original Hedwig's Theme to end it all is very emotional and fantastically done. But speaking of Neville, there's a bit of a fan-service bit that's hugely different from the book. Most fans really wanted Neville and Luna to end up together in the books, but JK Rowling admitted that Luna was a bit too weird for him. Instead, we get a great moment where Neville declares his love for Luna, followed by an awkwardly cute after-battle moment where they sit next to each other. It's so cute and fun and damn what purists say--I liked it!


First and foremost, this is definitely a Part 2. The first film is 2/3s of the book, and this film is the last third. Because of this, many might feel--like with Part 1--that it's incomplete (the first film has no ending, this film has no beginning). But I think the main issue is that people are looking at this as 2 separate movies (or possibly comparing it to something like Kill Bill). However, these films should be seen as one long film, possibly with an intermission. If you do it like that, then--to me--you lose those problems. There's a definitely beginning, middle, and end. And depending on how you like the Deathly Hallows story to begin with, this can still make or break it for you.

That being said, though, I will review this as the one part it is, as if it were a standalone--even though it goes against how I feel. The biggest issue I've read is that many feel it to be a rushed film. I can understand that at times (and it definitely feels the swiftest of all the movies), but as a whole, I think the pacing works just fine. There's not a whole lot of deep story or introspection in this part of the book as there was in the first half (that's what all that slow build-up was for in the Part 1, where people complained it didn't move fast enough... now people are saying it's going too fast! But I digress).

Anyway, because of the fast-paced nature of this film, the long, beautiful shots of scenery are gone from the cinematography, but it's still a very nice looking film. The best shots come in during the final battle sequences, which is at least half the film. It has a very epic feel to everything, with something different going on everywhere you look on screen (and all of it looks amazing). And the music score fits in just as well, giving it its grand scale.

Acting-wise, everybody is pretty top notch, but there are two standouts that definitely need to be mentioned and/or focused on. First is Maggie Smith as McGonagall. The woman finally gets her due after all these films of being slighted. The woman is a total badass in this film, with a mix of seriousness, dramatics, and humor. And Maggie Smith looks like she's having a blast doing it. The second, and most important, is Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. He hasn't been given much to do since the first film, though he's played the character to absolute perfection. And he's been harboring a secret told to him by JK Rowling herself about the character allowing him to do such. Now he's finally able to relish this tidbit of information and act it out brilliantly. The pain and emotion he shows is palpable and heartbreaking. And The Prince's Tale sequence (and/or the flashback sequence that reveals the truth, to all you non-readers) is--as I stated earlier--one of the best moments in not only this film, but in the entire series.


Overall, the film has some changes, but it's still a pretty damn good adaptation of the last third of the book. Some people will say both films should have been shortened and merged together, but then there would have been complaints anyway from fans for cutting too much out. Then there would have been complaints from non-readers for things feeling rushed in order to keep in all the important things. In cutting it into 2 parts and keeping very close to the source material, some thought Part 1 was too slow and Part 2 was too fast. It's an incredibly difficult book to adapt as a film, but I personally feel they made the right choice. I loved both films separately, and I know as soon as Part 2 hits Blu-Ray, I'll be watching both back-to-back... which is how I think the film(s) need to be seen.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese

(P.S. Was that rating really that much of a surprise?)

(P.P.S. Because I know people are interested, this movie made me almost cry at about 4-5 different points throughout the film. Yeah... it was close.)


  1. Very nice breakdown Nick!

    I do think you are being a bit forgiving though but I'll let it slide since you are a one of the bigger fanboys out there.

    I'll look forward to a post on how Part 1 and 2 work when seen back to back.

    You might want to listen in on Frankly My Dears podcast on the film. I found their discussion very interesting.

  2. I love how you tackled this review Nick. I haven’t read this book in a few years, so you really helped remind me what they kept and what they changed. A few points:

    Snape’s memory was my favourite part of the movie by far – man Rickman is a phenomenal actor. Completely heartbreaking. And I love how they didn’t shy away from making Dumbledore…well, kind of a dick.

    For me, the biggest problem with the film is that the side characters – specifically Ron and Hermione – don’t get as much time as they did in the other Yates films. You’re right, this is basically the third act of PART 1, and I feel like it’s got all the action that movie was sometimes lacking, but is missing some of the smaller emotional moments that I love.

    Maggie Smith: what a badass!!! Cannot stress this enough!!!

    Overall, I still wish it had been one epic 3.5 hour film, but as it stands I really liked DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2, and felt totally satisfied as a Harry Potter fan.

  3. Joel: Thanks! I don't think I was really all that forgiving of much. I can be brutal on the HP films, on both adaptation and cinematic levels (see: PoA and GoF). I guess I just don't think there was much to forgive.

    Tom: Thanks. I haven't read it in a while, either, so I had to think back, too. As for side characters like Ron and Hermione... they got their moments to shine in the first half of the film (again, I consider this one movie), so that doesn't bother me. And in fact, Ron and Hermione got more to do in this part of the story than they did in the book. We saw the Chamber of Secrets segment, and they also joined the battle against Nagini.

    Again, I'm pushing that you have to see both DH films as one long movie. The first part is the emotional bits, and the second part is the action. If you put them together, everybody should practically lose many of the arguments they have against either movie separately.

  4. I actually do totally agree with that point. Which is kind of why I wish they had been presented as one movie. Hell, I'd have sat in a theatre for four hours no problem!

    Ironically, the one thing I think they could have easily edited out to maybe get the combined runtime down a little would have been the deathly hallows. They really don't play that much of a role at all - the elder wand is just a plot devic, and the resurection stone is only in once scene which (although I liked it) isn't all that necessary. Thoughts?

  5. Totally agree Nick that this movie should be seen right after Part 1 as if it was a big 4.5-hour movie. I look forward to do so actually and I'm totally behind what their decision of splitting into two parts.

    After seeing this yesterday, I can say this is my favorite film of the franchise (both as part 2 or as 7.1 and 7.2 combined). As a non-reader, I was at times left vaguely confused with all the previous films but this one had uncommon clarity, proof that it wasn't as rushed as some people say.

  6. (Spoilers)

    Tom: You're not the first person I've heard give the "remove the Deathly Hallows" argument. I do agree that they're not really needed in the overall story. They've had the cloak since the beginning, and the Resurrection Stone is really only necessary to help explain something about Dumbledore's past and actions (cut from the film) and give Harry that last bit of confidence to face Voldemort. The most important one is the Elder Wand... and I don't think the movie would have worked without its inclusion. Yes, it's a plot device, but it's a necessary plot device. There were things set up in previous books/films that wouldn't have made sense without its existence, and practically all of Voldemort's motivations in this last chapter wouldn't have worked (anything from kidnapping Ollivander to killing Snape and more). And if you're going to include the Elder Wand, you might as well include the other two. Not to mention--what would you have called it?

  7. Fair point. But why not (aside from the fact that it would outrage fans and leave them needing a new title) just have them say that Voldemort wanted Dumbledoors wand simply because Dumbledoors wand it badass (for whatever magical reason they come up with)?

  8. Most impressive, Nick. The thing that shocks me the most, though, is how someone who loves the books as much as you do (and read them all first) could possibly still enjoy the movies as much as you do. I'm not saying that the books are all necessarily better, but I'd be sitting there cataloguing all of the differences (and comparing their relative merits/demerits) the whole time, as I can't simply enjoy an adaptation for what it is no matter how hard I try. That you are able to separate them in your mind is admirable, especially because, as Joel states, you're one of the bigger fanboys out there.

  9. I'm in the camp that these two parts definitely should've been released as one super long film. It's not like a 4 four film hasn't hit the theaters before.

    Nice break down of the comparisons. I'm such a terrible fan that I completely forgot Nagini was the last horcrux. My mom mocked me for it.

  10. Wow, very exhaustive, well written review. I knew you'd do something special for this film, but you exceeded my wildest expectations.

    Love reading your book comparison because I haven't read it since it came out and I found myself not remembering much of this last segment of the book for some reason (probably because I finished the book around 3 a.m. if I remember correctly).

    I don't like the opening of this film. It drags until we get to Hogwarts and, to be honest, I don't think it's nearly as elaborate as the film makes it out to be (although, I could be wrong).

    I like the mood of this film a lot. It's strange to think this is a blockbuster film, but it's handled in a slow, silent manner. I'm glad they got away from the bombastic soundscape of the older films and finally shook off what I think is one of Williams' worst scores.

    The epilogue is cheesy. It reminds me why I despise epilogues in general because it just feels like an unnecessary addendum and ruins the emotional high of a well told story.

  11. Dylan: Oh, I still do catalogue the differences and changes and whatnot. But the difference between me and the majority of fanboys/girls out there is that I tend not to be bothered by the unimportant changes. When an entire scene or subplot is cut from the adaptation, it doesn't bother me unless it ties into something major for the plot or characters. For instance, the Marauders and all of Harry's parents' backstory is almost entirely removed from Prisoner of Azkaban. That's unforgivable considering that was the entire purpose for the book being written. But Rita Skeeter's subplot in Goblet of Fire is removed completely, making her character almost moot in the film--but she's not detrimental to the overall story, so I didn't care.

    Rachel: Ha... forgot Nagini? I'd mock you, too. :P

    James: Oh, I still have more HP-related posts coming. I just have to get it all organized and written out. But this review isn't the end of it. :)


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