Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Michael Sheen
Watch Breaking Dawn Part 2 online in the UK: Netflix UK / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / iTunes / Google Play
Five years and five films after Twilight introduced us to the heady world of hormones and vampires, the saga ends with Breaking Dawn: Part 2, a blisteringly bonkers punch-up between supernatural beasties.
Two-thirds in, the monsters line up on a snowy field, ready to rip each other’s faces off. It’s a climax that sees Stephenie Meyer’s romance explode into a kind of undead Avengers. And boy, is it fun.
Bill Condon, director of Dreamgirls, was never one to shy away from the madness of the final Twilight tome. Embracing the full body horror of vampiric pregnancy in Part 1, here he revels in the demented glee of newly-turned vamp Bella (Stewart) and her and Edward Cullen’s (Pattinson) creepy offspring, Renesmee. And she really is creepy. Half-human, half-vampire, she looks like someone photoshopped a picture of a face onto a baby’s body – no wonder the Volturi (the vampire police/royal family, led by a camp Michael Sheen) want to destroy it and the rest of the Cullen clan.
And so the stage is set for the epic battle. It may not sound like much of a plot to last two hours, but the movie barrels along without the heavy-handed emotions that held back the bloated sequels.
As the only human left in the freak show, Billy Burke’s dad, Charlie, gets to do some serious mourning, but even that is short-lived, quickly solved by Jacob (Lautner) undressing in front of him. “You don’t live in the world you think…” he purrs, slipping off his shoes.
Led by the convincing lead couple, the cast do well to keep a straight face given some of the dreadful leaps of logic on display. The Cullens build the newlyweds a cottage as a gift – only to announce plans to move away the next day, while Jacob has imprinted (“a moronic wolf thing”) on Bella’s daughter. But with Meyer’s love triangle finally balanced, we’re free to just enjoy the silliness.
Stewart has never been more natural as the pale-faced Bella. She even avoids blinking for the entire movie. “I was born to be a vampire,” she says at one point. And in many ways, Breaking Dawn Part 2 marks the franchise accepting what it is – screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg even grows a pair of fangs and bites a chunk out of Meyer’s novel to give us an ending that’s far superior to the original text; an orgy of solid special effects, severed heads and, of course, pretty hair and cool clothes.
So what have we learned from this completed saga? If the first Twilight was an excellent, spooky fable about abstinence, a pubescent Let the Right One In with added sparkle, Bill Condon’s wonderfully daft finale has left that idea way behind. But in an age of Marvel-lous blockbusters, Breaking Dawn Part 2’s message mostly seems to be that, among an army of gifted supernatural monsters, teenage girls can be superheroes too. When that message involves a CGI wolf decapitating people, it’s hard to quibble.
Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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