[pullquote1 quotes=”true” align=”center”]While this may be best Twilight film yet, it is still a Twilight film[/pullquote1]
After four years, five films, billions of dollars, two bonafide teen heartthrobs, and one unduly, messy public break-up, it is finally, finally twilight time for the Twilight franchise. How that statement strikes you — and how this movie, the conclusion of the series, will strike you — really depends on how deeply you love this saga. The takeaway here is clean, plain, and simple: If this is your thing, then this is your movie.
It is a ceremonious, complete conclusion for the ages and dozens and dozens of movie nights to come. If the conclusion of an angsty love story between a teenage girl and a “vegetarian” vampire, with some werewolves, vampiric authorities, and misplaced allusions to Shakespeare thrown in for kicks, tends to not be your thing, then this is maybe not the way you should spend 115 minutes this weekend.
This movie dives in right where Part 1 left off, and to the un-indoctrinated, the plot at this point sounds a lot like when a still-slightly-buzzed friend tries to describe what happened last night: “No, it was great. Bella just woke up after giving birth to her half-mortal, half-vampire child Renesmee, and Edward saved her by injecting her with his venom, so she’s a newborn vampire now. But then Jacob imprinted on her baby, and — no, it’s not creepy, it just means that the baby is, like, his soul mate kind of, and he doesn’t want the Cullens to leave now, so he goes and turns into a werewolf in front of Charlie, and then there’s also these creepy Italian vampires who are sort of like in charge of all the vampires but also not, and they — you know what? You just had to be there.”
But if you are indoctrinated, this story is not to be treated like the drunken ramblings of your roommate. This is the story, the only story, the Gospel according to Stephenie Meyer. Fare that might seem campy, verging on ridiculous, to the average moviegoer is the height of both logic and romance to these Twi-hards. Fortunately, director Bill Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg seem to understand the feels of their fans and they tackle the dearth of their assignment with a straight face. But for all of their conviction, Condon and Rosenberg’s hands are ultimately tied by their inert source material, disproportionately bad special effects, and crazily exacting fan base.
Nevertheless, there is still a moderate amount of fun to be had: Kristen Stewart, as Bella, smiles at least twice, a franchise record. Taylor Lautner, as long-suffering werewolf-emotional plaything for Bella, is pretty. Michael Sheen, squealing and strutting about as Aro, leader of the Volturi, turns in a joy of a performance so campy Christopher Walken will be green with envy. And in its conclusion, this movie features a twist in the plot so big that it might be worth the price of admission just to watch the Twi-hards in your theater lose their shit over it. No less than three youngsters in my theater shrieked, “What the fuck?!” I won’t give the game away, but I will say this: if you have ever, for whatever reason, wanted to watch Dakota Fanning get mauled by a werewolf, now might be your only chance.
[three_fourth]But Dakota Fanning aside, here’s what it all comes down to: if you are a fan, you will tuck this movie away like a love letter, savoring this close reading and blissful, complete ending. If you are not a fan, you might walk out of the theater as I did, blinking into the light and wondering why you were supposed to care about any of that in the first place.[/three_fourth]
Despite it being Twilight, Fanning’s grizzly death is worth the ticket.
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