After nearly 20 hours of people emphatically waving sticks at each other, the Harry Potter movie saga is complete. The final chapter is amazing. It’s emotionally powerful and the best Potter film — despite Harry marrying the wrong girl, throwing away an unbeatable wand, and Voldemort making the dumbest move in cinema villain history. But we’ll get to that. So get out your wands and let’s cast the EW recap spell: Snarkalous!
We start with a sinister looking Warner Bros. logo testing our 3-D glasses, followed by an epic shot of Snape peering down at the Riefenstahl-style columns of students marching grimly into Hogwarts. This tells us pretty much all we need to know about how Lord Voldemort impacted the coolest of the wizard schools. (Can you imagine how uptight Durmstrang is now?)
Beach safe house: Meanwhile, Harry Potter is hanging out at a desolate seaside shack. Sure, it’s nice he buried poor Dobby, but how long could it have taken? It’s like burying your backpack. Inside, Harry has a chat with Griphook, the goblin rescued from the Malfoy Manor dungeon at the end of the previous film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1: Year of the Tent. One of the first things we notice is how steely and confident Harry has become. The young wizards want Griphook to help them break into his former employer Gringotts to search Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault for one of Lord Voldemort’s horcruxes (and it’s a real achievement by J.K. Rowling that you actually understand all that). Wizard bank heist? Yes, please!
Griphook agrees to help in exchange for Harry’s Sword of Gryffindor — except they need the sword to destroy the horcruxes. Ah well, they decide to wing it. Using Polyjuice potion, they disguise Hermione as Bellatrix and Ron as another Death Eater. (Asks the cynic: ”Where did they get the black clothes?” Quiet, muggle!). Using only her body language, Helena Bonham Carter is so perfect playing Emma Watson-as-Hermione that for a moment I thought it was Watson.
Gringotts: Goblins apparently have short-men complexes, building their desks six feet high so they can still peer down at you. Harry and Griphook hide under the invisibility cloak, while Ron and Hermione try to bluff their way inside. The teller demands Bellatrix’s wand as proof and she panics. (But wait, Ollivander said they have Bellatrix’s wand, right?) Instead, Harry discretely stuns the teller with an Oxycontin spell. Problem solved.
They pile into the mine car and speed off into the vaults. I should point out here, banking wise, having to risk a rocketing death cab every time you want to make a withdrawal from your account seems really inconvenient. Wizards have cool perks like flying broomsticks, but with ATMs on every corner, muggles win in terms of managing their personal finances. Suddenly there’s a problem when —
NEXT: Why dragons make unreliable bank guards; Old man Neville