Film Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part 2

There's a lot in this vampire saga's swan song for fans to sink their teeth into.

Team Jacob knows it doesn’t take much to get the lupine lover-boy Taylor Lautner plays to take his shirt off, so it makes sense that he’d end up going one step further for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn–Part 2, given how it’s the finale of the franchise and all. While it’s odd that any film in this series would make audiences wait 23 minutes to bask in his beefy glory, he ups the ante by pulling down his pants, revealing the one piece of clothing he apparently doesn’t mind having to replace after turning into a wolf: underwear. They’re gray, by the way.

That’s how everything works this time around—Twi-hards will get everything they’ve come to expect from the other four films based on Stephenie Meyer’s bodice-rippers for young readers, but there’s enough extra kick here to give the franchise the send-off it deserves. Sure, the good Twilight movies aren’t exactly classics, and Eclipse, the only bad movie, was forgettable, but those who don’t think there are any tricks this franchise can pull off to impress them never saw Lautner in boxer briefs.

Part 2 doesn’t dawdle as much as Part 1, now that the honeymoon that almost ruined the earlier film is over. Plus, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), the rapidly growing child Edward Cullen’s (Robert Pattinson) human wife Bella (Kristen Stewart) died giving birth to, is at the center of lots of drama now that Bella’s getting accustomed to life as a vampire, starting with Jacob’s role as Renesmee’s caretaker. As if it weren’t inconvenient enough to bring her not-so-secret admirer into the family, Bella isn’t happy to find out he’s nicknamed her "Nessie": "You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?!"

Renesmee, though, has bigger problems, namely vampires from Italy who call themselves the Volturi. When Edward’s psychic sister Alice (Ashley Greene) gets wind of their plans to kill Renesmee under the theory that kids who become immortal obliterate everyone around them, the Cullens round up creatures of the night from all over the world to see that she’s half-vampire, and therefore not a bane to their existence. Still, given how devious Volturi ringleader Aro (Michael Sheen) is, it’s a good thing they’ve got those vampires in their corner.

For all the risks that pay off, the left turn in the climax is so laughable it might have audiences howling even louder than the wolves. Fans of The Lord of the Rings know how long it can take to get a climax off the ground, but this film proves that if there’s anything more annoying than a battle with false starts, it’s one with a false finish.

Sheen doesn’t let audiences in on the fun he seems to be having either, so why bother putting up with so many rough edges? Perhaps because the chemistry between Stewart and Pattinson is stronger than ever, making the whole thing more satisfying. Also, given that Dakota Fanning can bring so much spunk to her role as a Volturi member without opening her mouth, it’s interesting to see how much talent this movie has at its disposal. The potential to be as entertaining as this may have come too late for Twilight agnostics, but let no one accuse Breaking Dawn of giving moviegoers too little.