Here's the link to the published version of my review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)
We come to it at last. After four years of agonizingly-bad movies, “The Twilight Saga” is finally at an end. With this final entry in the series, it’s time to say goodbye to Bella, Edward, Jacob and the rest of the gang. Most will find this a very easy thing to do, though the Twihards may be sad to see them go. After five movies containing the same problems, I can’t say that I’m sad to see it come to an end, but let’s take one last look at it before putting it to bed.
Picking up right where the previous film left off, “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” starts off with Bella (Kristen Stewart) trying out her new vampire abilities with her husband, Edward (Robert Pattinson). Now she too can run super fast and climb mountains, in addition to her gaining incredible strength. She also finally gets to meet her child, Renesmee, who is half human, half vampire.
While playing out in the snow, another vampire happens to catch sight of Renesmee, who is growing abnormally fast, and reports her to the Volturi, an ancient order of vampires who try to keep the peace. This sparks a misunderstanding that she is a very dangerous child since they are unaware that Bella had her while she was still a human. With an imminent visit from the Volturi approaching, Bella and Edward seek friends to ally with them in case anything should go wrong. While they are confident they can convince the Volturi of the mistake, they must also plan for the worst, which could very well include an all-out battle to save the child’s life.
One of the very few nice things that can be said about this last “Twilight” film is that it’s not really any worse than any of the other entries in the series. It’s even being said by many that this is clearly the best of the five, but when you think back on the rest of the series, you realize that that’s not saying very much. It’s like trying to pick the best of the “Paranormal Activity” movies. Any one you pick is still an awful film.
As per usual, you have to put up with the stone-faced Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, neither of whom has emoted in the least throughout these five films. I know I’ve said it before, but if we’re supposed to be feeling an emotional connection with these characters, shouldn’t they at least try to show a little emotion themselves? It becomes a rather strange juxtaposition to see them acting like zombies one second and having them zoom about like The Flash the next.
It will be rather interesting to see if they can salvage some kind of career after this. Pattinson has tried to be in a couple serious dramas recently (“Bel Ami” and “Cosmopolis”), but both films ended up being pretty bad, so we’ll just have to see where he goes from here. Stewart was recently in the bland “Snow White and the Huntsman,” which was dragged down quite a bit by her “performance.” Hopefully directors are figuring out at this point that these two don’t have what it takes and are best left far away from cinema.
Getting back to the movie, There is one other nice thing to say, and that’s that the film is once again unintentionally funny, particularly the last 15 minutes or so. Before that however, we have the usual cheesy special effects of the vampires running and werewolves morphing. We even get one particularly amusing scene of Bella randomly tackling a mountain lion. However, this doesn’t begin to prepare you for how silly those last few minutes are.
Without spoiling too much, there is a battle scene near the end of the film that is so over the top and so silly that you can’t help but laugh. Apparently the only way vampires know how to kill each other is to pull their opponent’s head off, so left and right you have this occurring, while others are using their superpowers to fight the battle. Yes, you read that right. Someone strolling into the film at this point could very well mistake it for an entry in the “X-Men” franchise as you have one vampire using electric powers, another using her psychic ability, and Bella using some strange shield power.
All of these issues are combined with the usual soap opera storytelling technique that didn’t help to make the series any more engaging than it did before. These characters are too flat and boring in the first place, so having them engage in lots of melodrama is not going to help make the audience care about them. This has been an ongoing problem throughout the series, but each group of filmmakers that have tackled it has refused to fix these glaring issues.
That being said, this obviously hasn’t stopped the Twihards from coming out in droves, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the filmmakers wouldn’t care about these problems when fans of the books are going to go see it regardless. It just goes to show that some people are less picky about the lack of quality in their films. If some people happen to like them, then that’s wonderful. At least somebody got something out of it. As for the millions that have had to suffer through this series, whether as a favor to a girlfriend or as a part of a job, we celebrate the end of one of the worst franchises in cinematic history and are thankful that we no longer have to dread more of this soap opera that should have been cancelled long ago. 1.5/4 stars.