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" She wouldn’t know a sheik from a prophylactic of the same name. "
— Bruce Willis, The Siege

MRQE Top Critic

Creed II

It's all about the importance of character and the ability to face life's challenges. —Matt Anderson (review...)

Creed II

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I’ve long said that the Harry Potter movies were made for devotees of the books, and not as standalone works. It’s not possible to faithfully adapt a 400-page novel into a 130-minute film, yet fans are disappointed when the smallest detail gets left out. The result is that the films get overstuffed with plot and characters, with no room left for segues and breathing room.

That’s my primary complaint about all of the films, including the first half of this last film. Nevertheless, I left Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2feeling satisfied.

If I Were a Horcrux, Where Would I Be?

Harry has to answer some interesting questions
Harry has to answer some interesting questions

When last we left our heroes they had 3 more horcurxes to destroy before finally battling Voldemort. I may be the only person in the United States who didn’t know the outcome before going in, but I wasn’t surprised. Still, I’ll try to avoid any spoilers....

The first two horcrux hunts involve lots of exposition and action set pieces. One involves weaseling into the goblin bank and making a dramatic escape with a new friend. The next requires a trip back to Hogwarts — now ruled by Severus (Alan Rickman) and off-limits to persona non grata Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). To enter the school and find the horcrux requires the help of friends; and with Voldemort and his cronies running the world into the ground, Harry discovers he has a lot of friends.

Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) keeps the last horcrux very close. It will be difficult for Harry to destroy it without confronting the Noseless One himself. Meanwhile, Voldemort’s army masses against the students and faculty of Hogwarts, looking a lot like the armies of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings.

By the way, you won’t miss anything if you see the 2D version of the movie. Director David Yates ( Harry Potters 5-7) has enough work to keep himself busy without worrying about filling the third dimension. That’s just as well.

When the End is Near, Interesting Questions Arise

Knowing that a final showdown was less than 130 minutes away, I found the scenes of horcrux hunting not so interesting, and I was glad they were dispatched without too much emphasis. The final hour of the film is where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2really shines. It’s when Harry, Hermione, Ron, and their friends start to think about some interesting questions.

Now that Harry can finally see the end, what will he sacrifice to get there? Will he give his life? Must he? Is it even possible for him to survive?

If he survives and defeats Voldemort, wouldn’t that make Harry Potter the most powerful wizard on Earth? And if so, who might try to take it away from him, and what would it take to defend that power? Or will it be possible to return to “normal” after all this, and if so, how big a letdown would “normal” seem after saving the world from evil?

I was pleased that Rowling thought of all these questions and let Harry answer them in his own way.

The Coda

Spoilers ahead. The end of the battle with Voldemort isn’t the end of the movie. A title card reads “19 years later.” At first I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of a coda. It seemed self-indulgent on Rowling’s part to close off whatever future her readers might have imagined for the heroes.

But the more I thought about her Goodfellas-like coda, the more I liked it. In a scene copied from the beginning of the first movie, we see parents sending children off to school at Hogwarts. This time, however, the familiar characters are the parents, not the children.

It’s a return to normalcy that is incongruous with the adventure of the past 7 books. The series presents Harry’s adventures as the greatest fight between good and evil ever waged — maybe not in so many words, but that’s the impression one gets. But normalcy in just 19 years? That almost casts the preceding 7 books into a new light. Malfoy’s presence at the end with his own children makes their childhood rivalry seem... childish. And Harry’s childhood — vivid as it was — hasn’t turned him into a celebrity or a titan of industry, so maybe it was more normal than we thought.

Maybe the point is that every childhood adventure is the most important fight between good and evil ever waged, at least to the child who lives it.

In any case, after 7 years of turmoil, the normalcy of the larger pattern of life is comforting, and it leaves me wishing all the characters and their children well.