This isn't your grade schooler's Harry Potter
—no quidditch matches, classroom hijinks or school dances. Instead, the still-suffocating Potter
mythology is mercifully co-opted by a story steeped in genuine human emotions: love, friendship, racism, loyalty, betrayal. With the death of Harry's father figure Dumbledore, it now falls mainly to the core trio of Harry, Hermione and Ron (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, respectively) to defeat the forces of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). His dark side has wrested control over the Ministry of Magic and initiated their "final solution" to exterminate any non-pure-bloods. As Harry and Co. hopscotch from dungeons to Piccadilly Circus to endless sweeping vistas, they battle not only Death Eaters but also their own hormonal angst. In the able hands of director David Yates, their task assumes an epic grandeur, more atmospheric and meditative—and slowly paced—than previous installments.