Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

In theaters.

I suppose I’ve come around to David Yates. Director Alfonso Cuarón’s adaptation of Prisoner of Azkaban probably will always be remembered as the most artful Harry Potter movie (and I wouldn’t dispute that), but Yates’s work on the final four films of the series is far from second-rate. Yes, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows, Part 1 and 2 are somewhat uneven, occasionally lurching forward when they should pause and dragging when they should race ahead; they also can set a mood, build a riveting action sequence, and create a perfect, evocative image. They are, in short, cinematic, not just perfunctory dramatizations of the books—which, frankly, is probably all they needed to be to make untold billions of dollars. Yet Yates clearly aspired to more than that, and it shows, even in the weaker moments. I don’t love the movies, but since Yates took over, they’ve consistently been much better than I expect.