DVD Release Date: November 11, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: July 15, 2011
Rating: PG-13 (for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images)
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Action-Adventure, Sequel, Adaptation
Run Time: 130 min.
Director: David Yates
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Evanna Lynch, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Ciarán Hinds, Emma Thompson, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent

As far as entertainment is concerned, no series has probably conjured up as much controversy in the church as Harry Potter has for the better part of a decade now.

An uneasy mix of redemptive themes and the battle between good and evil in a story that involves wizards, witches and a whole host of spells, it’s certainly sparked some intriguing debate on whether or not Christians should be watching.

Now that we’ve officially arrived at the end of the story, however, what goes down in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 won’t likely sway anyone who’s ever been on the fence. While those who’ve loved J.K. Rowling’s story all along will likely leave feeling satisfied and a little sad that it’s all over, anyone joining the party for the first time will have missed too much to really make sense of what’s happening. 

See, many of the treasures found in Harry’s Potter’s universe often reside in the smallest of details that Rowling herself has dreamed up. And because the movies have remained remarkably faithful to the books, a cursory knowledge of what’s led up to the battle between Harry and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is helpful.

Unlike most sequels where the screenwriters are more than happy to help bring a new audience up to speed, Deathly Hallows Part 2 picks up precisely where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 left off. After burying his dear friend Dobby, the brave elf who was wounded by Bellatrix’s (Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech) knife in the last movie, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his loyal, longsuffering companions Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) immediately resume their mission, namely to collect the three remaining Horcruxes that contain pieces of Lord Voldemort’s soul.

Tracking down these missing keys to Voldemort’s immortality is essential because they not only weaken their enemy when they’re destroyed, but that act paves the way for defeating the forces of darkness that have clouded everyone’s everyday existence. Naturally, this process isn’t nearly as neat and tidy as it sounds, however, but it inevitably sets the stage for a seriously dangerous quest that eventually ends where it all began—Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Given the rather volatile nature of the film’s underlying story arc, one might expect that Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a solemn and completely joyless affair. Visually speaking, the movie’s color palette is practically nothing but shades of charcoal gray, but the filmmakers still manage to have a little fun, particularly when Harry and his pals return to the vault at Gringrotts bank. Forced to escape from a room where everything they touch—coins, chairs and the list goes on—literally multiplies, it’s one of the movie’s few moments where a light, comedic touch is completely appropriate.