Lanford Beard
July 11, 2011 AT 09:43 PM EDT

The first reviews for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 are rolling in, and the verdict is… overwhelmingly (and unsurprisingly) positive. David Yates received across-the-board praise for his directing, as did the ratcheted-up action and the satisfying conclusion to a 10-year franchise. EW’s own Lisa Schwarzbaum declared, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 is proof that authentic movie excitement is its own form of magic. Half the spell-casting formula lies in what the audience itself brings to the eighth and final movie made from J.K.Rowling’s culture-shaping literary epic…. This is an ending suitable for The End.” You can check out more critical responses to the film below:

Time: “One imagines future generations will watch [the eight Harry Potter film series], in its nearly 18-hour expanse, as one sprawling, enthralling story. The battle scenes are finely etched and boldly presented; yet the heart of DH2, as in the earlier films, is found in more intimate exchanges involving the amazing cadre of British acting royalty enlisted for the enterprise.”

Associated Press: “Oh, it’s dramatic, to be sure: gorgeous, somber and startling as the young wizard faces his destiny and fights the evil Lord Voldemort….  Even those who aren’t ardent Potterphiles — who aren’t waiting in a line around the theater with their homemade wands and hand-drawn lightning scars — might find themselves getting unexpectedly choked up a couple of times.”

The Hollywood Reporter: “Fully justifying the decision, once thought purely mercenary, of splitting J.K. Rowling’s final book into two parts, this is an exciting and, to put it mildly, massively eventful finale that will grip and greatly please anyone who has been at all a fan of the series up to now.”

Variety: “In keeping with its predecessors, Part 2 delivers below-the-line work of an immaculate standard. The visual effects are so deftly and artfully handled that the magic seems almost commonplace….”

New York Magazine: “Expecto Patronum, it is! HPATDH 2 works like a charm. A funereal charm, to be sure, but then, there’s no time left for larks.”

Read more:

EW’s review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 and Part 1

Six tantalizing minutes of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2’: Watch here!

Harry Potter: 19 Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Pics From the Whole Series!

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