Us Critic: Details on Harry Potter's "Gripping and Sensitive" Finale

Credit: Jaap Buitendijk

Opens: Friday 7/15

Us Rating: ****

After all this time, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is still learning secrets about how he became The Boy Who Lived. These revelations provide much of the momentum for this gripping and sensitive finale, which will satisfy both casual and fanatical fans. Part 2 dives right into the action, with teen wizards Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) searching to destroy the three remaining Horcruxes, each of which contains a piece of the soul of evil Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

Along the way, a vivid flashback exposes a game-changing twist -- and Ron and Hermione share their long-awaited first kiss. Many supporting characters get standout moments, as when Mrs. Weasley (Julie Walters) screams at goth Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter), "Not my daughter, you bitch!" And in one tear-jerking sequence, Harry communes with dead loved ones, including Sirius Black (Gary Oldman). Still, it is Alan Rickman's divine performance as enigmatic headmaster Snape that defines the film -- a sensational end to the epic 10-year journey.