'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2' Review

It’s fitting that the final chapter in their storyline also offers the most fun and excitement thus far – not to mention serves as the entry that could change a few minds.

The finalTwilight  saga chapter,Breaking Dawn – Part 2 , was always expected to face an uphill battle with anyone but diehard fans of Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural romance series. Despite blockbuster box office returns,Breaking Dawn – Part 1was met with largely negative reviews and the sense that splitting the finalTwilightbook into two parts arguably proved to be a disservice to the quality of the film adaptation – even if it doubled-up profits for Summit Entertainment.

It goes without saying that moviegoers who are simply uninterested or cynical about theTwilightfranchise will not enjoyBreaking Dawn – Part 2– as the film still contains the usual series staples (shirtless Taylor Lautner, glittering vampires, melodramatic romance, etc). However, does the final entry, once again directed by Bill Condon ( Dreamgirls ), ultimately deliver a filmgoing experience worthy of recommendation to cautiously curious fans of entertaining cinema – in addition to the already strongTwilight  series faithful?

Surprisingly, yes. As mentioned,Breaking Dawn – Part 2isn’t going to win-over the franchise’s longtime critics and, given the amount of ties to past events and characters that dominate the proceedings, it’s still hard to recommend as a standalone experience for the uninitiated. That said, out of the (now) five film series,Breaking Dawn – Part 2  easily includes the most straightforward plot and, instead of dwelling on the core Bella, Edward, Jacob love triangle, manages to deliver a competent (albeit still campy) “war” story – complete with a fun cast of supporting heroes/villains and a finale that ends the current saga with a fiery bang. Condon shotPart 1andPart 2at the same time but the difference is staggering, as the latter installment is stronger in nearly every single way imaginable, with a focused story, higher production values, and a number of appealing setups. It’s still an overly-dramatic and downright cheesy escapade but, unlike most of the prior entries,  Breaking Dawn – Part 2   offers enough fun for appeal to aslightlybroader audience.

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 Christopher Heyerdahl Michael Sheen Jamie Campbell Bower The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Review

The Volturi (Christopher Heyerdahl, Michael Sheen, and Jamie Campbell Bower) in ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’

TheBreaking Dawn – Part 2story picks up directly after the events ofPart 1 : wherein Bella (Kristen Stewart) nearly lost her life during the birthing of her half-human, half-vampire daughter, Renesmee – only to be turned into a vampire at the very last minute by husband, Edward (Robert Pattinson).

InPart 2 , newborn vampire Bella awakens from a post-transformation slumber and wastes no time in testing out her new supernatural powers. Unfortunately, after being reunited with Renesmee (now played by Mackenzie Foy), Bella and her daughter – along with werewolf/one-time love interest Jacob (Taylor Lautner) – are spotted by Cullen family “cousin” Irina (Maggie Grace) who mistakes Renesmee for an “immortal child” (read: a child who has been turned into a vampire and, as a result of their juvenile lack of self-control, risk exposing the existence of vampires to humans). Irina reports the Cullens to the Volturi, the vampire ruling class and police force, known for their ruthless handling of similar situations. In an effort to clear their names, and reveal the truth of Renesmee’s parentage, the Cullens recruit a roster of international vampire “witnesses” to help set the record straight or, should the Volturi choose to be unreasonable, fight to the death.

WhileBreaking Dawn – Part 2  still relishes in sappy cliches about “true love” and hyper-romanticized encounters between Bella and Edward, the larger plot is actually very straightforward and finds a successful balance between the sentimental franchise camp and some genuinely entertaining changes to the established format. The majority of scenes still present eye-rolling moments but, freed from all the overly-complicated teen romance,Part 2allows a number of characters to step outside of the drama for unique moments to shine – revealing that the coreTwlightuniverse has more going for it than the love triangle focus of earlier movies. Abstract core elements (such as the Volturi, “imprinting,” and the dangers of “immortal children”) are all explained with mostly natural exposition or engaging flashbacks – educating uninitiated audience members on the primary character beats

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in play.

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 Kellan Lutz Kristen Stewart The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Review

Emmett (Kellan Lutz) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) arm wrestle in ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’

Watching Bella experiment with her newfound powers is amusing to watch, and a welcome change of pace from her cringe-worthy descent into sickness and death inPart 1 , but the real stars this round (for anyone who isn’t already grounded in Team Edward, Team Jacob, or Team Bella) is the international cast of vampires who come to aid (or in some cases mock) the Cullens for their plan to face the Volturi. Not only do some of the characters offer enjoyable riffs on traditional vampires, the film focuses heavily on eachTwilightvampire’s “gift” (aka: super powers) – leading to a number of slick comic book-like “heroes” such as Benjamin (Rami Malek) with  Airbender -ish control of elements in nature and chilling “villains” such as Alec (Cameron Bright) who can rob opponents of their physical senses.

On the battlefield, the combination of super-powered hero vampires, rough and tumble shape-shifting wolves, as well as blood-thirsty Volturi combatants, makes for a rousing last confrontation that is as outrageous as it is amusing (it would also make for a crazy drinking game: one drink for every decapitation). The final  Twilightset-piece doesn’t come close to matching the scale of the assault on Hogwarts inHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2but, compared to the flat visuals and underwhelming action beats in priorTwilightentries, the closing moments of the film definitely raise the series bar and should provide a satisfying conclusion for Twihards – along with fun surprises for less-knowledgeable viewers.

Still there’s no doubt that the film is held-back by mushy character moments and a “budget” look (despite the franchise raking in over $2.5 billion at the global box office) – both holdovers issues from earlier franchise entries. Even though there is no “talking wolves” colloquium this round, there are still a number of unintentionally humorous exchanges and awkward visuals (especially CGI baby Renesmee) that undercut the quality of the filmmaking – even if the final film itself delivers a worthwhile experience for its intended audience.

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 Judith Shekoni Tracey Heggins Kristen Stewart Robert Pattinson Christian Camargo The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Review

Judith Shekoni, Tracey Heggins, and Christian Camargo ready to fight in ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’

It’s unlikely thatBreaking Dawn – Part 2is the end of theTwilightmovie franchise (given all the talk of spin-offs or further sequels) but Stephenie Meyer remains clear that it is the end of Bella and Edward’s tale. As a result, it’s fitting that the final chapter in their storyline also offers the most fun and excitement thus far – not to mention serves as the entry that could change a few minds about the available potential in the larger series. Naysayers aren’t going to be won-over (and have plenty of fair criticisms) but it’s easy to imagine that some initially reluctant viewers might be less adverse to furtherTwilightinstallments after their time with  Breaking Dawn – Part 2 . In our review of  Part 1  I contended that, considering the passion and support of the Twihard community (not to mention resulting blockbuster profits), Summit Entertainment owed faithful fans better qualityTwilightfilms – and  Breaking Dawn – Part 2is definitely a step in the right direction.

If you’re still on the fence about  The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 , check out the trailer below:

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Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below. If you’ve seen the movie and want to discuss details about the film without worrying about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, please head over to our Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Spoilers Discussion.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check out our  Breaking Dawn – Part 2  episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2  is Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity. Now playing in theaters.

Category: Review

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