Will this 'epic' finale really 'live forever' in the hearts of viewers?
I'm not sure any film has faced up to as much of a challenge this year as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. Coming off the back of the immensely dull Part 1 (2/5) last Winter, this much-anticipated conclusion to the franchise of novel-to-film adaptations had its work cut out proving to fans and sceptics alike that the series is still relevant in 2012 as it wraps up. Have Lionsgate sent Robert Patterson, Kristen Stewart and company out with a bang, or a whimper, then?
The answer is simple- thankfully, the former crescendo has been made possibly by a vastly superior sense of narrative pacing, a varied-but-likeable cast and above all fantastic performances from the lead stars. As you'd expect, the action picks up straight where Breaking Dawn Part 1 left off, with Bella now transformed into a femme fatale Dracula and her daughter 'imprinted' on by werewolf pal Jacob (best not to read too far into that one, eh?). Whereas Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 struggled to pick up the strands of its superior predecessor at first, Stephenie Meyer and Melissa Rosenberg do a great job of rolling with what they've already got and pushing forward in unexpected ways.
Slowly but surely, things build to the inevitable confrontation between the Cullen clan- along with a group of unashamed stereotypes from nations abroad- and the evil Volturi, yet where Deathly Hallows simply threw itself into a prolonged final battle, Breaking Dawn pulls a number of shocking twists that divert from what happened in the book! Yep, you read that bold text right- the anti-climax of the original novel has been transformed into something far more meaningful, a transition which I am assured by fans actually makes the storyline better, which is certainly saying something!
Better yet, the central cast in particular give performances that shine above anything and everything you may have seen in Twilight (3/5), New Moon (2/5), Eclipse (4/5) or last year's instalment. Kristen Stewart isn't the soulless vessel of romance we once knew, instead flourishing in her take on a flesh-eater, while Robert Patterson bounces back with an empathetic portrayal of Edward and Taylor Lautner does a brilliant job of making Jacob more than a model contracted to rip his shirt off every five minutes. They're backed by a familiar but mostly effective supporting cast, particularly highlighted by Micheal Sheen's near-iconic villain Aro, who provided a good number of positive laughs from the audience.
Part 2 isn't perfect by any means- the pacing is much improved but still lags between the various plot arcs in the first half, and not all of the American teen angst drama is wiped away by the wars and emotions. Even with that in mind, though, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses, to the point that we get the best entry in the series as a whole, a fitting finale that deserves to revel in its franchise's successes come the credits, because it does the saga proud in the end. Lionsgate were right to end the saga here, yet I'm so glad to say that they managed to do so on a big high.