Five years and four bestselling books later, it seems we’ve finally come to the end of the multi-million dollar grossing, teen vamp Twilight saga. Long-awaited final chapter Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012) will likely add to that undeniably impressive gross haul, whilst fans of Stephenie Meyer’s novel can rejoice in the fact that the Bill Condon-helmed conclusion is easily the best of the series. Picking up immediately from where last year’s predecessor left off, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 sees Bella Cullen (née Swan, Kristen Stewart) – now a vampire – revelling in her newfound abilities with husband Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
Unfortunately for the happy couple, the ruling Volturi sect are soon made aware of their half-breed daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) and, believing her to be an immortal child, move to destroy the coven. In an effort to prevent a bloody battle, Bella and Edward must amass witnesses to prove Renesmee’s harmlessness. That this is all just one big build up to the heavily advertised final battle will surely not be lost on cinemagoers. Yet, whilst Breaking Dawn – Part 1 laboured in its setup, the sequel makes for a far more entertaining experience.
Although the arrival of so many new vampires means most struggle to be anything more than one note, each showcase of a skill is fun to watch and occasionally they yield impressive visual moments. Also doing wonders for Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the welcome absence of that burdensome love triangle thanks to Jacob (Taylor Lautner, in typical shirt-ripping form) having ‘imprinted’ on Bella’s daughter. This is a Twilight film however, and Edward and Bella’s relationship is, as ever, a focal point. The romance has never felt more natural, and the ‘awws’ of a particularly enthusiastic Twilight fan do feel somewhat earned.
Elsewhere, all involved are quite comfortable in their roles, with Michael Sheen’s hammy turn as Volturi leader Aro standing out. With that said, there are still too many times when vampires stand around doing nothing at all. Unintentionally funny moments also remain, although there is also plenty of genuine humour this time round too, something which was sorely lacking in last year’s Breaking Dawn – Part 1.
With over a film-and-a-half worth of build-up, Condon and co placed a lot of pressure on themselves to deliver the goods in the climax, and thankfully it satisfies. The special effects have never looked more polished, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 easily sets a new record for the amount of bloodless decapitations in a 12A film. An unexpected twist will make viewers either angry or cheerful, but for the most part this is a solid, entertaining conclusion that fans of the series will love and others can endure.