|Snape: not evil after all|
I must admit that, being slightly sentimental, I was weeping quietly all the way through. What this film does is enhance Rowling's slightly clunky prose (which made her last two books a disappointment for me), so that the epic touches which she was unable to convey by writing are writ large on the screen. The last battle at Hogwarts always seemed faintly ridiculous to me: here it is genuinely terrifying, with battered schoolchildren fighting desperately against screaming Death Eaters. The deficiencies of Daniel Radcliffe's plankish acting vanish as we meet what is truly the heart of the series: there is darkness in us all, and we must all fight to overcome it.
We learn, too, about the exceptional loyalty and devotion of Snape to Harry Potter's mother, Lily, and of Dumbledore's realpolitik. There is a beautiful scene, when Harry is looking in Snape's memories, which I think was the best in the film: a young Lily makes a flower grow in her hand, but her sister calls her a freak. Hiding in a tree trunk nearby is a young Severus, who blows a leaf to her. It is sun-filled and dappled and touched with a sense of wonder and loss and brimming with the sadnesses of human relationships. It delicately haunts the mind long after, and even now thinking about it I am filled with emotion.
There are some superb set pieces, too: the escape on a damaged, maddened dragon from Gringotts, whose wings and claws drive gouges into London's rooftops; an eerie, white King's Cross; and the film never lets up on energy, drive and spirit. It's an excellent piece of work, and as David Heyman himself said, it's not the end, but the end of a beginning.
Read my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One