Before I begin this review, I just need to say that I am a massive Harry Potter fan and I would have loved the movie even if it was directed by Jim Henson and Voldemort was fuzzy and green. I grew up reading Harry Potter. I waited in lines for hours until midnight when I could get the next book, had heated arguments over minute plot points trying to guess what would happen, and I even spent an entire two-week vacation reading the fifth book out loud with my two best friends (I was Ron and Neville, and in our defense it rained the whole time). I am also a huge fan of what J. K. Rowling did to get an entire generation of children raised on videos games to open a book and read. Not to mention all the fanfiction out there, which I am a huge supporter of and I think it's all great. Getting people to fall in love with stories and characters and to get lost in another world is what it's all about, after all.
That being said, I think this could be the best movie in the franchise. Even better than the fifth one, which until now has been my favorite. I just enjoyed myself so much in the theater, and this was the first time all the relevant points in the book saw time on the big screen. I need to wait a few weeks for the excitement to wear off until I can really fairly decide which one was better.
Choosing to split the seventh movie into two parts was a great decision because it finally allowed the producers to give everything the screen time it deserved. (Plus, there's still one more movie to get excited for!) I was excited to see they included Hermione Obliviating her parents, which wasn't even shown in the books, just mentioned. It was a great scene to open with that really set the grim tone for the whole movie, especially for people who didn't read the books. Overall, I thought all three main characters had upped their acting. The scene where Ron is splinched was my favorite, Hermione was so genuinely upset it felt so real. That scene more than all the others sucked me into the movie. I really think Hermione stole the show this movie, she acted like a person and not a middle school drama student! Great improvement there.
One thing I'm disappointed about is they didn't show the change in Kreacher's mood from having people to take care of again. But I guess this is the only thing left out, so I can't be too upset. I would have loved to see Luna's bedroom though, that is such a heart-wrenching moment in the books. And I hate Bellatrix; Helena Bonham Carter pulls me out of the movie everytime. I have to say it. Yes, she does a great job, but she's recognizable and acts so animalistic it just doesn't work for me.
Overall, LOVED IT. Can't wait till it comes out on dvd. One of my top movies of the year, but I don't think it ranks over Inception. I love this movie for different reasons.