The final film in a franchise adapted from Stephenie Meyer‘s supernatural romance novels, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the fifth and final instalment to the love-it-or-hate-it Twilight Saga, concluding the series with the second part of the adaptation of her final novel, Breaking Dawn. Directed by Bill Condon, who also directed Breaking Dawn – Part 1 which was released this time last year, Part 2 picks up with newly turned vampire Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), her now-vampire husband Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and their newborn half-human/half-vampire child Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). When the news reaches the Volturi, however, the coven begin a plan to destroy the Cullen family for bringing an immortal child into their world. On the brink of a vampire war, the Cullen’s must gather vampire clans from around the world, but will it all end in disaster? Or will the new powers of Bella and her daughter be strong enough to defeat the coven?
So The Twilight Saga has finally come to an end, and overall I have been on very neutral grounds about the franchise on a whole. Whilst I am a fan of the books, the films have never done Stephenie Meyer‘s work enough justice in my eyes. I’m not saying the books are a masterpiece, far from it, but they are much more enjoyable than the adaptations. With this final instalment, however, I can’t help but feel a little sad that it’s all come to an end. The first film will always be my favourite instalment, but the final two Breaking Dawn chapters come close behind and that’s because, for the most part, they stick with a focus on the novels more adult themes.
Breaking Dawn was my least favourite novel out of the franchise altogether and with Part 1 out-of-the-way, I was worried that what was left to come wouldn’t be worth a film on its own. What’s so great about this second part to the final novel, however, is that director Bill Condon felt comfortable enough to change the film’s ending. Personally, I think that this is the smartest moves that the franchise has made, bringing in a sense of emotional engagement and something for its fans – and to some extent, its non-fans – to appreciate.
The film isn’t fantastic and it certainly has its flaws – the action is good compared to the other films in the franchise but only okay in general, and the CGI is pretty good (but then it needed to be with all those heads being ripped off!). The film certainly has its cringey moments still, too, with scenes that come off more awkwardly on-screen than how they read, but I still came away really enjoying what I had seen. I would even go as far to say that it was quite sad. It was an easy franchise to become emotionally invested in, especially with the characters, no matter how disappointing some of the instalments may have been. Condon’s twist, as well, built up this emotional engagement brilliantly, testing the audience’s reactions and therefore pushing them to know how they felt about the franchise as it came to an end.
Of course, it’s never going to convert its haters, but we knew that a long time ago. It does take a good turn, focusing on vampire rivalries and a darker side to their existence rather than how they glitter in the sun and fall in love with humans, but this focus has come far too late to pick up any new fans. It’s always been a franchise that you either love or hate (though I do feel in the middle about it, myself), so you will have made your mind up about this film already, no doubt.
Nevertheless, as a half-fan, Condon really has done a great job of adapting the final novel and, whilst I preferred Part 1 overall, this final instalment is still up there compared to New Moon and Eclipse. It may not be the greatest of films, but it brings a decent end to the franchise and is a fairly good adaptation overall.