The Final Chapter: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Film Review

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is the final installment of The Twilight Saga film series and the last film you should watch in the order of Twilight movies. Unlike the first film which is packed with forgettable filler moments meant to pad the runtime, this movie was an improvement and had a better handling of the scenes.

While there were some moments that came off as dead air in a movie that’s supposed to be suspenseful as we find out how Bella and Edward will end up together after all their challenges, it was a fairly entertaining movie that, although had one too many montages of the last few films, was fun to watch especially if you’re looking for a film that’s a step above your typical teenage romance back in 2008. Because instead of wondering if Bella’s going to the prom or if she and Edward can survive high school together, we’re now talking about political stability, corruption in the vampire government, and conflicting parenting styles between Jacob and Bella.

 

Bella Cullen, the Newborn Vampire                              

The start of part two begins immediately where the last movie ended: Bella opening her eyes for the first time as a newborn vampire. She awakens hypersensitive to her surroundings and finds herself completely healed from the events of the first movie. Luckily, Edward is there to introduce her to her new life and takes her to try out her new vampire powers in the forest.

If I remember correctly, it’s not mentioned in the movies (though it is implied) that newborns are temporarily stronger than older vampires because newborns still have their human blood lingering in their veins. So, Bella’s first steps (or run) as a newborn makes it slightly difficult for Edward to catch up with her and train her how to hunt. However, they soon discover that there is a lone human nearby who accidentally scratches himself while climbing and draws blood that attracts her. But Bella is able to control herself and focus her hunt on one of the predator animals in the forest.

Bella returns to the Cullen house hoping to see her daughter for the first time since her transformation. However, she notices that Jacob is being a bit overprotective of her daughter, much to Rosalie and Emmett’s amusement. She soon realizes that Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee and she flies into a rage until she learns to control herself.

 

Settling Down

As Edward and Bella begin to settle down as a family, Bella realizes that the Cullens have led her father, Charlie, to believe that she is dying from some illness she picked up during their honeymoon and was away at a health facility. Carlisle believes they have to leave Forks to protect their identities and because Charlie will soon know the truth if he looks at Bella’s transformation and Renesmee, his granddaughter who couldn’t have been possibly born and grown into a young toddler in a span of months.

In the books, Bella had agreed to the plan, though did not like to think of having to lay still in a coffin with her parents and friends crying over her. Because if Charlie were to find out the existence of vampires, she knows the Volturi will either force her to turn him into a vampire or kill him to protect their identity.

Jacob learns that they all plan to leave and, not wanting Renesmee to leave, tells Charlie the truth about werewolves. He doesn’t mention vampires, but he tells him that the world he lives in isn’t what he seems and that Bella had to do “something” to remain alive and well. Charlie visits the Cullen house and, while he notices there is something different about Bella, accepts the claim that Renesmee is Edward’s orphaned niece whom they adopted.

This is one of the changes from the source material that I think was better than the books. In the books, Bella doesn’t mentions vampires, but she gets him to trust her that she’ll tell him “on a need-to-know basis” or else she’ll be forced to run away and he’ll never see her again. She doesn’t lie about Renesmee’s parentage as she resembles both her and Edward, and while Charlie is visibly confused how a toddler can be born and raised in the span of a few months, he accepts it for what it is.

 

Start of the Battle

With the Charlie crisis averted, Bella thinks she can settle down and live a life as an immortal vampire and mother to her daughter. However, with Renesmee being half-mortal and growing at a rapid rate, Bella worries that Renesmee will grow old and die in a span of a few years. While together in the woods, Bella and Renesmee are spotted by Irina, Laurent’s mate and a member of the Cullen’s friends, the Denali coven.

While Bella shrugs it off, Alice has a vision of the Volturi coming because of it. It is revealed that the Denali coven’s mother, Sasha, was killed centuries ago because she created an “immortal child.” Immortal children were human children changed into vampires. Because they aren’t mature enough to comprehend training or restrictions, they pose a risk to vampires’ secrecy. The Volturi killed Sasha and the immortal child in front of her daughters, including Irina. Irina goes to the Volturi to report Renesmee as an immortal child, and Alice has seen the Volturi coming to kill them.

Alice instructs the family to gather witnesses, vampires who are willing to testify that Renesmee is a growing half-vampire, half-human and not an immortal child. Plenty of the Cullens’ friends are willing to stand as witnesses, but some refuse in fear of the Volturi, while other vampires are attacked by Volturi members for considering to join. The Romanian coven, Vladimir and Stefan, reveal that this has always been the Volturi’s tactic: finding an excuse to destroy a coven, killing off the regular vampires while convincing the vampires with special gifts to join them. The Cullens realize that if this is the case, then they may have to fight, but their witnesses and the werewolf pack stand with them. During this time, one of the vampires discovers that Bella has a gift: the ability to mentally shield herself from others’ powers, as well as extending her shield to protect those she wishes to.

Worried of what might happen to Renesmee should they die in battle, Bella secretly prepares fake papers for Jacob and Renesmee in case they need to run away from the Volturi and go into hiding.

 

The Volturi Arrives

The Cullens and their allies meet the Volturi in a field. Edward and Bella convince Aro of Renesmee’s true origins, which leads to Irina’s death for her false accusations. However, Aro insists that Renesmee’s unique origins may still pose a threat, insisting that violence is necessary to protect them.

Alice arrives to show him a future of what happens. However, she pulls back, realizing that Aro has made his mind, and signals to the Cullens to start the battle. The ensuing battle leads to heavy losses on both sides: Carlisle, Jasper, and Seth and Leah Clearwater die on the Cullens’ side, while Alec, Demetri, Jane, Caius, Marcus, and Aro die in the battle.

However, this is revealed to be all part of Alice’s vision and everyone is all still alive and well.

The vision convinces Aro to see one more witness: Nahuel, a fully-grown half-mortal half-vampire. He explains that Renesmee is not a threat to the vampires’ secrecy as he reached maturity in a number of years and can survive on both human food and blood. Knowing the consequences of battle, Aro instructs the Volturi to leave without battling. Except for the Romanian coven who was hoping to topple the Volturi and gain control of the vampires in Europe once more, the Cullens and their allies are happy with the outcome.

As the Cullens say goodbye to their friends, Alice has a vision of the future of Edward and Bella spending the rest of their lives together while Jacob and a fully matured Renesmee are also together. Alone together, Bella removes her mental shield and finally allows Edward to see into her mind. Together, they promise to love and be with each other forever.

 

Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Today

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 was released in late-2012, so unlike the other earlier movies, this is the closest film we have to date. Some critics may feel cheated by the faux battle that took place in Alice and Aro’s shared minds, but it was a refreshing sight to see in a film that is mostly people standing around.

Another thing I liked most is Bella’s visible transformation. From an innocent young girl who needed to be saved every five minutes in Twilight, Bella grew up and became this feral and formidable character who, despite her newfound strength, was still the same girl willing to do anything she could for the people she loved. And the fact that the series was very true to this personality throughout the five movies while showing her dynamic character arc is one of the entire film series’ strengths.

And after all, how can we be angry when this movie gave us this iconic line:

GIF via Giphy

And that’s the end of that series. While I wasn’t a fan of every moment and found that there were some scenes better in the books (and some that I thought the films did much better), it was interesting to see the saga develop from a love story between a mortal and a vampire into a battle between warring vampire covens. And while the story may not be for everyone, re-watching The Twilight Saga, it’s easy to see why millions of women and men of various ages were hooked on the story.

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