Tom and I saw HP7: Part 2 on Sunday, and to mark the end of an era, I thought I'd write a review. Therefore, I should warn you that there could be some SPOILERS--especially if you haven't read the books and/or seen the final movie.
Overall, it was the best Potter movie. Ever. The acting was incredible, the special effects were amazing, it was the biggest emotional roller-coaster of any of the movies (there were several times where I choked up, and I actually burst into tears at the fade-out between the last shot of the epilogue and the credits because now it was all over--as I said to Tom afterwards, HP would "never be new again").
HP7: Part 1 felt more like a psychological horror movie à la The Ring, and my fear that Part 2 would be like that was mainly what kept me from seeing it in 3D. But although it's the darkest and most violent of all the movies, it didn't feel like a horror movie at all. If anything, it felt like a breath of fresh air when compared to Part 1.
As I said, in general the acting was top-notch, but I have to point out some individuals. Especially Alan Rickman. That guy is one of the best actors out there, but this was one of those times where he went above and beyond the call of duty. The way he portrayed Snape's inner battle between the good side and the bad side (Dumbledore or You-Know-Who?) pulled me in and really brought the conflict and Snape's love for Harry's mom (mum?), Lily Evans to life. Snape, of course, had a bit of a crush on Lily, but of course she ended up marrying James Potter (Harry's dad). There's a scene that takes place just after You-Know-Who's murdered Harry's parents (Snape's given Harry a vial of his memories, and Harry's looking at them in the pensieve). Snape's holding Lily's body and crying, and it's absolutely heart-breaking to watch.
And watching him duel with McGonagall (Dame Maggie Smith) was thrilling. Especially Maggie--throughout the movies, she hasn't really had a chance to cast any spells. The movies and books have mostly focussed on her roles as head of Gryffindor House and Deputy Headmistress. But I couldn't help but feel rather impressed with her duelling skills/spellwork (to heck with the fact that it's all really good special effects).
There were also a couple of her lines that made me laugh: The first was when Filch comes running into the Great Hall yelling about students being out of bed at night. McGonagall sharply tells him that they're supposed to be out of bed; that the school is under attack. Later, when she's calling the suits of armour to battle, to "do [their] duty to [the] school," she says afterwards with a giddy smile on her face, "I always wanted to use that spell!"
And who can forget Molly Weasley's (Julie Walter's) line, "NOT MY CHILDREN, YOU BITCH!"?
The duel between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and You-Know-Who (Ralph Fiennes) was also amazing and thrilling. And it happened pretty much as I'd imagined it in the books, except for the part where they're battling while flying around the Hogwarts campus, which was a good choice in terms of adding things to the script.
When Ralph spoke in Parseltongue in one scene, there were subtitles at the bottom of the screen. Part of me wishes that the other directors had done that. But I also understand why they didn't: maybe they just hadn't thought of it, or maybe they wanted to keep it mysterious. In DH: Part 2, You-Know-Who is telling Nagini (his snake/familiar, and one of the Horcruxes) important info about Harry. It's not only important for the snake, but for the viewers as well, so the subtitles are rather useful.
I did find one flaw (and this is mostly why I didn't give it a perfect rating): Throughout the movie, Harry wears regular Muggle clothes. When he comes into the Great Hall after Snape's told the students that if they know where Harry is to turn him in, he's wearing Hogwarts robes. I was okay with that--maybe he borrowed them from a friend. But then, a couple minutes later--where are the robes?
The scene in the Great Hall, where the wounded and the dead are laid out was unbelievably sad. Seeing Tonks and Lupin lying together, and the Weasleys mourning Fred...
During the epilogue, they used a piece from HP1: Leaving Hogwarts, which I thought was a wonderful touch. It's been almost ten years since HP1 came out, and as someone who grew up with the series (both the books and the movies), I couldn't help but feel a sense of nostalgia, and that musically the series has now come full-circle. As I listened, I couldn't help humming it in my head.
9.5 out of 10 (Tom gave it an 8.2).
The Harry Potter series: 1997 - 2011. Thank you, J.K. Rowling.