Accio characterization. Finally!
Captions don't count: At last, at long last, we get a Harry Potter movie that’s almost as fulfilling to sit through as it is beautiful to watch. Unlike past HP movies where the requisite plot-heavy scenes clocked along at a bam-bam pace, “Deathly Hallows” makes the most of its two-part structure by slowing things down so characters can breathe. The plot is no longer the boss, the heroes are. (It bears noting there’s still plot aplenty flying by, and if, like me, you haven’t read the book recently, you’ll have a bushelful of questions go unanswered.) Still, when Harry and friends have time to suffer and laugh and cope and mope, they come alive more than any other movie, and that makes the stakes meaningful. No pointless magic tournaments or Quidditch matches or high-school dances, just characters in a bad way struggling to get better. It’s also chock full of surprises like an animated fairy tale telling, some seriously sinister death-dealing and a naked Harry-Hermione slash-fic come to life. Certain story problems still stick in my teeth. (Why, in a world where anyone can drink a potion to look like someone else, aren’t there more defenses against such an easy ruse?) But on the whole I spent more time with a surprised grin than with rolling eyes.