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CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE:
This review incorrectly identifies the sword of Gryffindor as a Deathly Hallow. The sword of Gryffindor is an especially magical object, but it is not a Hallow.

courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Ralph Fiennes in all his glory as the (noseless) Lord Voldemort in the final installment of the Harry Potter franchise.
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Directed by David Yates

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson

Rated PG-13

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 starts right where its predecessor ended and provides an epic finale for the eight-part movie adaptations to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are seeking the deathly hallows, artifacts that will help them defeat the evil antagonist Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) by allowing them to destroy his horcruxes. The horcruxes are soul stones that grant Voldemort immortality as long as they are intact. At the end of the previous movie, Voldemort had managed to capture one of the three deathly hallows, the incredibly powerful “Elder Wand,” from Albus Dumbledore’s grave, before Harry and his friends could get it. The final Harry Potter movie flows seamlessly from is predecessor by opening with the same scene.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione manage to find another horcrux, but they lose the sword of Gryffindor, a deathly hallow that would have allowed them to destroy any of the horcruxes. In the meantime, Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) has become the severe new headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts. Nevertheless, Harry and his friends manage to secretly enter the school with the help of Dumbledore’s brother and their friend Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis). Soon after their arrival, Snape gathers all the students and threatens them to expose Harry. Harry steps forward and challenges Snape to a duel, openly accusing him of murdering former headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

Soon after this, open war consumes Hogwarts. Harry, his friends, the students, and the teachers form an alliance to defend the school, while Voldemort and his allies surround it. In the meantime, Harry, Hermione, and Ron try to find and destroy the last of Voldemort’s soul stones, which is hidden somewhere within Hogwarts. They fight against time the whole way through, while above them the battle for Hogwarts continues. During the search for the final horcrux, Harry learns that he has to make an ultimate sacrifice to finally defeat Voldemort.

Harry Potter 7.2 is much more entertaining than its predecessor, which had been laborious in parts. The latest film of the series is rewarding in many ways: We learn about the background of Severus Snape and his relationship to Harry’s parents, as well as the mysterious connection between Harry and Voldemort. Harry Potter 7.2 also answers a lot of open questions from the previous movie and makes numerous references to the preceding seven parts of the series. Old characters show up again, and Harry and his friends visit some of the locations of their previous adventures, like the Chamber of Secrets to get a fang from the Basilisk they killed years before.

Harry Potter 7.2 also shows us how the characters have developed over the last years. Neville Longbottom, for instance, transforms from a shy, weak kid to the leader of the students in the fight against the Death Eaters, Voldemort’s followers. He saves Ron’s and Hermione’s lives by fearlessly jumping into a fight with Voldemort’s snake companion Nagini and even makes a stand against Voldemort himself in the finale of the battle of Hogwarts. Overall, the latest Harry Potter movie provides an epic conclusion to the series that the fans truly deserve for their commitment and support over a whole decade.