The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)

Fangs for the memories... Breaking Dawn: Part 2 concludes the five part Twilight franchise, offering fans a fitting end to the series but doing little to convince haters that sparkly vamps aren't all bad.

[Contains spoilers]

Newborn Bella (Kristen Stewart) comes to terms with her new found strength in this, the final installment in the Twilight saga. Previously, in Breaking Dawn: Part 1, Bella discovered she was pregnant during her honeymoon after finally marrying vamp Edward (Robert Pattinson). After an exhausting birthing scene, daughter Renesme was born and Bella had turned from human clutz to statuesque vamp.

Breaking Dawn: Part 2 continues on from where Part 1 left off, with the film opening with Bella’s red vampire eyes. What follows is a faithful retelling of the craziest installment of Stephenie Meyer‘s four part novel series. We watch as Bella comes to terms with her new powers, namely resisting the urge to bite people and being able to win an arm wrestle with the bulky Emmett (Kellan Lutz). She finds time to enjoy some alone time with husband Edward between finally meeting her rapidly aging daughter and convincing her father (Billy Burke) that nothing’s wrong (even though there clearly is).

Trouble hits paradise when vampire Irina (Maggie Grace) tells vamp overlords the Volturi about Renesme, believing her to be an immortal child, a big no-no in the immortal world. The Volturi vow to right such a wrong, but don’t rustle up an army very quickly, allowing the Cullens to collect a host of ‘witnesses’ to attest to their story. The reasonings behind the final encounter are a bit sketchy but it allows new characters to flesh out the second installment.

Much of the beginning of the film feels like a chain of unrelated events strung together – but that’s not really a fault with the script but with the source material. In Meyer’s novel things are explained further than they are here, with elements such as Bella’s ability to shield seeming more convenient than integral here in the film.

Whilst it sticks to the story, there is a twist that fans won’t see coming. Whilst we hope you’re reading this after you’ve seen the film, we won’t say too much as we don’t want to spoil things, but the inclusion of said twist keeps fans on the edge of their seat. From its inclusion, its clear to see that the creative team had fun producing this entry into the franchise, it feeling as if they really only got into their stride in the series’ dying moments. The film continues the trend of quippy one liners and again uses a topless Taylor Lautner for a visual gag, a gag that works well thanks to Bella’s Dad Charlie (Burke).

If you haven’t been a fan of Stewart’s acting or the franchise’s style there’s little on offer here to sway you away from your judgement. Criticised for its special effects, the franchise journeys into perilous territory with Renesme here; posed with a child who ages about a decade through the course of the film, the effects team choose to use a CGI representation of the character for much of the film, making for some odd close-ups. Michael Sheen poses little threat as the supposedly venomous Aro, with his reaction to twists and turns reflecting nothing. This said, the story itself is an enjoyable romp if you’ve enjoyed the books.

Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is great if you’re a fan of the franchise but the film does little to welcome viewers who have already made up their minds about a series infamous for its sparkly vampires. Fans will enjoy the end credits, with cast members from across the series getting their swan song, but those intent on hating all things Twilight will only see this installment as fresh meat.

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