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'Breaking Dawn – Part 2': Is the movie a satisfying finale?

Will 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2' appease diehard fans? Check out our full review.

By Ben KendrickScreen Rant / November 16, 2012

'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2' stars Kristen Stewart (l.) and Robert Pattinson (r.).

Andrew Cooper/Summit Entertainment/AP

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The final Twilight saga chapter, Breaking Dawn – Part 2, was always expected to face an uphill battle with anyone but diehard fans of Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural romance series. Despite blockbuster box office returns, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 was met with largely negative reviews and the sense that splitting the final Twilight book into two parts arguably proved to be a disservice to the quality of the film adaptation – even if it doubled-up profits for Summit Entertainment.

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It goes without saying that moviegoers who are simply uninterested or cynical about the Twilight franchise will not enjoy Breaking Dawn – Part 2 – as the film still contains the usual series staples (shirtless Taylor Lautner, glittering vampires, melodramatic romance, etc). However, does the final entry, once again directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), ultimately deliver a filmgoing experience worthy of recommendation to cautiously curious fans of entertaining cinema – in addition to the already strong Twilight series faithful?

Surprisingly, yes. As mentioned, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 isn’t going to win-over the franchise’s longtime critics and, given the amount of ties to past events and characters that dominate the proceedings, it’s still hard to recommend as a standalone experience for the uninitiated. That said, out of the (now) five film series, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 easily includes the most straightforward plot and, instead of dwelling on the core Bella, Edward, Jacob love triangle, manages to deliver a competent (albeit still campy) “war” story – complete with a fun cast of supporting heroes/villains and a finale that ends the current saga with a fiery bang. Condon shot Part 1 and Part 2 at the same time but the difference is staggering, as the latter installment is stronger in nearly every single way imaginable, with a focused story, higher production values, and a number of appealing setups. It’s still an overly-dramatic and downright cheesy escapade but, unlike most of the prior entries, Breaking Dawn – Part 2  offers enough fun for appeal to a slightly broader audience.

The Breaking Dawn – Part 2 story picks up directly after the events of Part 1: wherein Bella (Kristen Stewart) nearly lost her life during the birthing of her half-human, half-vampire daughter, Renesmee - only to be turned into a vampire at the very last minute by husband, Edward (Robert Pattinson).

In Part 2, newborn vampire Bella awakens from a post-transformation slumber and wastes no time in testing out her new supernatural powers. Unfortunately, after being reunited with Renesmee (now played by Mackenzie Foy), Bella and her daughter – along with werewolf/one-time love interest Jacob (Taylor Lautner) – are spotted by Cullen family “cousin” Irina (Maggie Grace) who mistakes Renesmee for an “immortal child” (read: a child who has been turned into a vampire and, as a result of their juvenile lack of self-control, risk exposing the existence of vampires to humans). Irina reports the Cullens to the Volturi, the vampire ruling class and police force, known for their ruthless handling of similar situations. In an effort to clear their names, and reveal the truth of Renesmee’s parentage, the Cullens recruit a roster of international vampire “witnesses” to help set the record straight or, should the Volturi choose to be unreasonable, fight to the death.

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