No major spoilers in this review, though there may be some in the comments.
If you, after all these years, are still in category 3, then the odds are that you don’t care about the spoilers anyway, so do what you want.
The Harry Potter movies represent a truly amazing achievement in film-making. Eight feature films, all of them as faithful to the source material as they could possibly be, with a huge cast that has remained very consistent from movie 1 to movie 8, including protagonists that were CHILDREN at the start, and who have grown up right along with their characters and many of their fans. It’s incredible, and I don’t think that there has been anything else like it in cinema history.
So there’s that.
It’s clear to me now that splitting book seven into two parts for the movies was a very good idea, and to some extent, it allowed them to sacrifice part 1 for the benefit of part 2. Deathly Hallows Part 1 was not a bad movie, but to be sure, it contained all the slow, boring, depressing parts of the story, and did the best it could with them. However, those elements were important for the story, and now that Part 1 has dealt with them, Part 2 is freed up to be an intense, scary, exhilarating roller-coaster ride. Based on my first viewing, I think this last film is actually my favorite of all the Harry Potter movies, and is absolutely a fitting conclusion to the saga.
In many ways, I think I enjoyed the movie even more than the book for this installment. This may well be simply because I knew what was going to happen, and as such, was able to be much more in the moment. This movie is action-packed in a way that none of the other films has been so far. By getting part one out of the way, the movie is able to spend lots of time on the battle for Hogwarts, and it is truly intense. I am not kidding at all when I say that the movie is not for little kids. Anyone who has read the books knows this, but this movie is scary and violent in ways that surpass anything in the movies so far. There are moments where we hold our breaths in anticipation, shed tears for fallen friends, and share the joy when our characters are able to steal a moment of happiness in the midst of all the destruction.
And throughout, the movie is filled to the brim with cameos and lovely little nods to events and props and characters from the previous films.
It’s a fitting conclusion, and one well-worth seeing in the theater.
Note: I actually saw it in IMAX 3D. The 3D is mostly pretty subtle and not distracting, though to that extent, I’m not sure it added anything either. The IMAX screen, on the other hand, was awesome.