ChristopherLamb’s review published on Letterboxd:
Fahhhk. This one also lost some of the magic for me and I think it’s because once again the story is more mystery based and knowing the mystery already kind of dampens the sensation. I still really love it though and remember being so fascinated by the entire thing (especially the Slughorn and Riddle stuff and what that leads to)
There are several things that I had issues with this time around. I understand these are adaptations and it probably works better in the book, but I really missed the adversity in this story. Umbridge was a great villain who was constantly opposing the students the entire movie, you had a lot of death eaters and Voldemort played a big factor. He was there for the climax but he showed up in visions, there was a storyline of people not believing he was alive, and his mental connection with Harry was another huge storyline so you always felt his presence.
This movie had only a few flashbacks with Riddle. Voldemort and Harry’s mental connection arc was kind of abandoned all together. Harry’s inner turmoil and struggle was abandoned for his paranoia about Draco. The Half-Blood Prince storyline really wasn’t that big of a focus and really wasnt an adverse force up until he uses Sectum Sempra which quickly ends his use of the book. Draco was probably the biggest villain in this one but even he was more in the background rather than opposing the main characters.
The biggest constant adverse force seemed to be relationships and unrequited love. I don’t mind that they had romance involved, but just the way they handled it. Everything felt very contrived for me and unnatural with everybody fawning over eachother. Cormac over Hermione. Hermione over Ron. Lavender over Ron. Harry with the waitress in the beginning. Then crushing on Ginny. Romilda fawning over Harry. Ron and and Harry talking about nice “skin”. Fucked up love potions, Seductive shoe-lace-tying, Dragon Balls! When will it end?!?!?
Once again I did like the storylines but it felt like so much screen time was dedicated to them over the wizarding world stuff like more focus on the Death Eaters trying to get in or wrecking shit or Voldemort building his army, etc.... Not only that but in a world where things are getting darker with assassination attempts, a hexed necklace that played like a horror scene, a brutal scene with Ron being poisoned, the entire climax, Snake killing Dumbledore, Bellatrix wrecking the school and just a visually bleak and dreary movie, those romantic arcs were played in such a comedic and silly way that it clashed with tone for me.
I did love Draco in this movie more than any other. In past movies, he became a little too cartoonish for me with his over the top bullying and then over the top cowardice a second later. In this one he really had a strong presence. He felt like he was becoming a powerful wizard and someone to fear. Not only that but his vulnerable and insecure moments played so well for me and made me sympathize for him. The whole Vanishing Cabinet arc was extremely engaging to watch. I actually remember first seeing this movie and not even understanding what was going on or why he was doing what he was doing. It really made the end even more mind blowing.
There are a lot of negatives in this write up but I still love it. I loved the scene with Harry and Hermoine commiserating together over their respective Weasley heart-throbs. I loved everything from when Harry uses the liquid luck (which was super funny) until the end. I still can’t help but cry when they all are crying over Albus and put their wands up and get rid of the dark mark. The last scene on the lookout with Hermoine telling him they are going with him and Fawks flying off is so beautiful too.
Can’t wait for the final two today. It’s rainy right now and really depressing out setting the perfect atmosphere for the finale.