Harry’s last stand

And now the end is near: Harry faces his final battle of the franchise.
And now the end is near: Harry faces his final battle of the franchise.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (12A)

Director: David Yates.

Harry and his two friends face the ultimate battle with Voldemort.

Harry and his two friends face the ultimate battle with Voldemort.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Bonnie Wright, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, David Thewlis.

Running time: 130 mins

Almost 10 years after the cinema release of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, the most financially successful film franchise in history reaches its tragic and spectacular conclusion.

Millions of readers already know what lies ahead for Harry (Radcliffe), Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson).

Certainly, the eighth film has its niggles.

Radcliffe has improved as an actor, but he still doesn’t possess the emotional range or vulnerability to provide a strong emotional connection to Harry’s grief.

Watson and Grint shine in their few scenes.

And Deathly Hallows: Part 2 brings down the curtain in style.

The film opens with Voldemort (Fiennes) stealing the powerful Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s grave, which he will use to slay Harry.

Dastardly acolytes Bellatrix Lestrange (Bonham Carter) and Lucius Malfoy (Isaacs) press forward with their diabolical plans, while Severus Snape (Rickman) fills the vacant post of headmaster at Hogwarts, which is encircled by Dementors.

Elsewhere, Harry, Ron and Hermione continue their mission to track down the final Horcruxes, which contain fragments of Voldemort’s blackened soul.

The quest leads to Hogwarts where fellow students Neville Longbottom (Lewis), Luna Lovegood (Lynch) and Ginny Weasley (Wright) are ready to lay down their lives to protect Harry from Death Eaters including Draco Malfoy (Felton) and his Slytherinpal.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 builds relentlessly to the final battle at Hogwarts, which is brilliantly realised with a seamless conflation of live action and dazzling digital trickery.

An attempted break-in at Gringotts Wizarding Bank introduces the blind dragon which guards the Lestrange Vault and the search for Rowena Ravenclaw’s lost diadem in the Room of Requirement is similarly thrilling.

Aside from the central trio, the third film belongs to Lewis as heroic Neville and to Rickman’s treacherous teacher, whose tragic history is revealed in a heartbreaking flashback.

The coda, taken directly from Rowling’s book, is an unintentionally hilarious misstep courtesy of unconvincing ageing make-up.

Giggles aside, there will be few dry eyes when the end credits roll.

Rating: HHHHI