It took three more movies but I think the Twilight saga has finally come full circle, recapturing exactly what made the first film a watchable mess. That was the most campy of the installment — innocent idealism that, whether done ironically or not, was unintentionally hilarious to many and absolutely magical to others — and we’ve finally gotten back to that vision with the second of two Breaking Dawn movies. This is, perhaps, the funniest of the Twilight movies. And also possibly the best.
After Breaking Dawn — Part 1, where almost nothing happened for the majority of the film, Part 2 picks up, presumably, the first time that Bella (Kristen Stewart) awakens from her near-death experience. She’s a vampire now, and has given birth to a half-human, half-vampire, named Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). The father, Edward (Robert Pattinson), their mutual friend and shapeshifter, Jacob (Taylor Lautner), and the rest of Edward’s family are all there upon her awakening. She has finally gotten her lifelong wish fulfilled: she’s just like Edward.
Of course, with a new species comes new experiences, like hunting for deer, giving us the first of many hilarious moments. After that, she’s basically a full-fledged vampire. Unfortunately, thanks to a misunderstanding, the Volturi — the villains of the series who have yet to really do anything evil, but are portrayed as such anyway — have decided that Renesmee presents a threat to the vampire species, and that she must die. Aro (Michael Sheen), is their leader, and he has an army that could easily wipe out the Cullens. Clearly, the Cullens need an army of their own, so that the war can be fought fairly.
To say much more would be spoiling, but the basic idea of the film is pretty much just this. The majority of Breaking Dawn — Part 2 is just recruitment and talking amongst characters who either have or have not previously had any involvement in the series. Seriously, there is such a large cast of characters here, most of whom have super powers — oh yeah, all the vampire get superpowers in this film, some of which are more unbelievable than anything else in the series — that it’s really hard to keep track of it all.
If you can figure out why everyone would get superpowers, you probably have a decent idea of what will happen near the end of the film. There is a war that one side wants, anyway, so if you still needed a hint, there you go. Now, if you read the books, you’ll probably figure you know how big of a letdown the ending is. Let me tell you something: The film adds one scene that is not in the books, and it is the best scene in the entire franchise.
It also basically equates to the film trolling its audience members, bringing us the single biggest “Come on!” moment of 2012. You’ll know it when you see it. I sat, open-eyed, with a smile on my face, for twenty straight minutes, as I saw the most cathartic experience the series could bring me. And then it was all taken away in an instant. That doesn’t stop the joy, but it does remind you that the series is still Twilight, and that it can’t just end the way the filmmakers clearly wanted it to.
There isn’t a whole lot of romance in Breaking Dawn — Part 2, and much of the talking seems to have some sense of urgency to it. It’s not the brisk-paced thriller that some might want, but it does at least progress, has some sort of plot, and quickly wraps up a series that was as drawn out as it can get. In terms of actual things happening, Eclipse probably still has this film beat, but at least you can’t summarize the plot in one sentence like you could for Part 1.
I have to say that I’m glad Twilight is over. This is the sendoff it deserves, save for a pre-credit self-congratulatory sequence in which the actors and characters from the entire saga gets his or her own shot, complete with character and actor name. It’s done to sweet music and is as nostalgic as they come, but at this point, we had just seen the entire story end and I wasn’t in the mood to reminisce. The series has four movies out in five years, and while they’ve made lots of money and been of varying quality — I don’t know. I’m not sure if they’re deserving of this kind of celebration.
You might be pleased to know that Kristen Stewart doesn’t swipe her hair back once in the entire film — or if she does, I don’t remember it happening. And she smiles a lot. And gets to tackle a cougar. How does this not sound like fun to you? The other actors are all as bland as they’ve been in the other movies, save for Michael Sheen, who gets multiple scenes to ham it up as much as he chooses — and he chooses to a great deal. His jovial facial expressions to not match the tone or characters of the rest of the film, and are absolutely hilarious as a result.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2, is sort of the Twilight film for non-fans, at least in parts. There’s a twenty minute sequence inserted just to troll the devoted fans, while providing a sense of catharsis to those who haven’t liked the series from the start. It’s campy, funny, mostly devoid of the slow-moving, uneventful nature of a couple of films, and will likely please the die-hard fans, as well as not being a total bore for those who are just dragged along for the ride. It’s a good sendoff to a mediocre series, and now we can stop hating it for a few years until Lionsgate decides it needs more money and reboots it.