Who's In It: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Warwick Davis, John Hurt, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Ciaran Hinds, Matthew Lewis, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, Gary Oldman, Bonnie Wright
The Basics: Harry has to get that last horcrux if he's going to weaken old No-Nose enough to finally smash him to bits. He's also got to help fight off the evil army descending on Hogwarts for a battle royale, take a ride on a dragon, trip into a back-story vision to learn more secrets from Snape and Dumbledore, remind Ginny he's still into her and get the wand with the superpowers. So he's kind of busy.
What's The Deal: Obviously, if you've studiously ignored the Potter movies for the past decade, this isn't the film to watch if you're finally thinking of playing catch-up. There are no "previously on Harry Potter" details to bring you up to speed. But for longtime fans, especially for obsessives, the rewards are great. Setting aside the visual excitement of underground roller coasters, mean ogres, giant spiders, giddy Voldemort laughter, spiky dragons, terrifying fire-snakes, awesomely creepy Dementors and the violent slaughter of _________, _________ and _________ (sorry, no names), this incredibly satisfying and emotionally moving finale is frosted with sprinkles of just about every bit of Harry Potter lore you can think to name, save for those vomit and dirt-flavored jellybeans. It's like a roll call of stuff you love and maybe even forgot along the way. Dive in. Or make a bingo card.
MVPs: Maggie Smith and Matthew Lewis as Professor McGonagall and Neville Longbottom. If, like me, you abandoned reading the books because you knew the movies would eventually come along and do the work for you, this installment gives you a lot of awesome and surprising Longbottom heroics and excellent badass moments from McGonagall. That's all I want to say. I only like to throw spoilers into a review if it really deserves to be spoiled.
It's Time For The Oscars To Recognize: Well, everything, really. And I know I already have a reputation here as someone who cares more about pork chops than the Oscars, but out in the real world people still put stock in them so it'd be a nice pat on the back for these billion-dollar industry ambassadors to get a little recognition for their efforts. As good as this franchise has been over the years, the films are still routinely snubbed by the Academy Awards in all but a few technical categories. At the very least, Alan Rickman deserves a nod for years of Snape service.
Best Wig: Ginny Weasley's "Mom hair."