'Breaking Dawn - Part 2': The Reviews Are In!

Finale has received best reviews in 'Twilight' history, with one critic saying the cast 'brings liveliness to a franchise known for being soulless.'

At this point in the lengthy, angst-ridden and obsessed about nature of "The Twilight Saga," all signs point to the fact that the final film in the franchise, "Breaking Dawn - Part 2," is going to be a massive hit. The experts are predicting potential record-breaking-type box office numbers and there are millions of fans who have already bought tickets, so with all that monetary ammunition, does it really matter what the critics think? Do reviews for "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" need to be written?

Perhaps it's not a question of need but want, because the critical mass seemed to want to write all about how Stephenie Meyer's vampire soap opera comes to an end and surprisingly enough, more liked it than did not, which makes "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" the least hated movie of the franchise. Prepare yourself for one last bite as we hunt through the "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" reviews!

The Plot

"After Bella (Kristen Stewart) nearly died during pregnancy in the last movie, her undead husband, Edward (Robert Pattinson), saved her by piercing her neck, thus at long last making a vampire out of her. Now with newborn Renesmee, baby makes three. Played by what look like digitally altered tots and an actual flesh-and-blood girl (Mackenzie Foy), Renesmee is the nominal centerpiece for the final movie and its reason for being. As half-human, half-vampire, and conceived while Bella was still breathing, Renesmee turns out to be an instant problem child. Not only does she look as creepy as the baby Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," she's sprouting as fast as a magical beanstalk and, worse yet, has attracted the attention of the Volturi, a vampire coven in Italy with papal-like authority. Led by Aro (a fabulous, flamboyant Michael Sheen), the Volturi come to believe that Renesmee is an "immortal child" whose milk teeth will instigate a large-scale calamity." -- Manohla Dargis,

The Performances

"Packed with an absurd amount of backstory and mythology-twisting plot points (some vampires can shoot lightning now?), Condon and series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg mine revel in the beefed up ensemble of 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2' and thanks to a wildly funny cast, it never feels like pointless deviation. Along with the usual suspects, Lee Pace adds swagger to the series as a grungy alt-rock vampire, Noel Fisher appears as a hilarious over-the-top, battle-ready Russian coven member, and Michael Sheen returns has Volturi head honcho Aro and steels the show. Flamboyant, diabolical, and a steady stream of maniacal laughter, Sheen owns Condon's high camp vision for Twilight and he lights up the screen. There are a few throw away nations of vampires -- the oddly stereotypical Egyptian and Amazonians sects are there mostly there to off-set the extreme whiteness-- but the actors involved bring liveliness to a franchise known for being soulless. Even Stewart, Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner give personal bests in this installment -- a scene between Bella and her dad Charlie (Billy Burke) is genuinely heartfelt while Jacob's overprotective hero schtick finally lands." -- Matt Patches,

The Long Goodbye

"By the time the great vampire showdown finally got started, I was good and done with 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2.' But the big action scene is so campily over the top -- with one twist so unforeseeable -- that it sent me out on a burst of grudging goodwill. The film's endlessly drawn-out ending, with its multiple spoken and written iterations of the book's last word, 'forever,' over an image of the matte-skinned, cultishly beatific Cullens, may be the scariest moment in the whole pulpy yet vital Twilight series -- a teenage girl's fantasy of perfect domestic contentment, frozen in time and doomed to last forever." -- Dana Stevens,

The Final Word

" 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2' starts off slow but gathers momentum, and that's because, with Bella and Edward united against the Volturi, the picture has a real threat. It's structured as a classic monster-movie showdown, and when the two are standing with their ragtag rebel team in the Northwest snow, facing Aro and his monk-hooded Volturi army, the film takes off -- into eye-popping violence and spectacle. ...And wait until you get to the twist ending! It's one of the most shocking moments in the series, yet also one of the lightest. It made me realize that, as narratively lumpy as they can be, I like the 'Twilight' films because they're really about the eternal movie romance of vampires at play." -- Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Check out everything we've got on "Breaking Dawn - Part2."