In the Twilight world, becoming a vampire is like being permanently high on some really great ecstasy. Senses are heightened—colors brighter, blades of grade more detailed. Sex with your husband will blow your mind. And, if that's not great enough, you're super fast and strong and YOU NEVER DIE. Okay, so there's that pesky thirst for blood thing. But if you're new vampire Bella (Kristen Stewart) you have an amazing control over your cravings. To avoid snacking on a rock climber, you hurl yourself selflessly from the cliff.
And with that, the thing that I had been dreading since the first Twilight film has come to pass: Bella is a vampire now, totally subsumed by her love for Edward (Robert Pattinson), willing to sacrifice her very humanity for the man she loves..
A feminist parable this ain’t.
Anyway, the entire first part of Breaking Dawn: Part 2 all kinds of awkward—first with that whole Bella becoming a totally rad vampire routine, then meeting her creepy looking CGI-enhanced baby, Renesmee. (Not quite sure why they couldn’t use a real baby in these early scenes—I guess she’s supposed to have otherworldly beauty or somethin’. As it is, Renesmee looks like a cross between a character in Polar Express and the e-Trade baby.) Then, there’s the whole even more awkward deal where werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) is kinda sorta betrothed to baby Renesmee (he’s “imprinted” on her, which means they’re paired for life), followed by the unconvincing reinsertion of Bella’s dad (Billy Burke) into the mix: He gets that Bella suddenly has super good posture and can’t hug him for extended periods of time, but he takes it on faith that he’s on a need-to-know basis when it comes to her actual species.
That being said, Breaking Dawn: Part 2 isn’t entirely fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000—it has its moments.
There’s finally a showdown between the do-gooder Cullen clan and the evil vampire overlords, the Volturi, who think that baby Renesmee—now a little girl (she ages at an extremely high rate, all the sooner to hook up with Uncle Jacob, I suppose—ewwww)—is a threat to vampire kind. So the Cullens round up like-minded vampires, Magnificent Seven style, including an amusing (and amused) Lee Pace, as a vamp who dresses like a punk rock Revolutionary War rebel, and Rami Malek as a vampire who can manipulate the elements, which will prove to come in handy.
Director Bill Condon succumbs to the over-the-top silliness of it all—lots of red blood against white snow; the Volturi’s glowering malevolently as their capes ripple in the wind (Michael Sheen, as the head Volturi, knows that if you’re going to do camp, it’ll be more embarrassing if you hold back). He then stages a surprisingly badass vampire fight—with a twist. (I’ll never tell.)
All the action makes this installment rather fast-paced and palatable. I do wonder, however, if Twihards will be a little bummed by all the hullabaloo. There’s about one-third less shmoopy lovemaking and moon-eyes in this one, compared to the rest of the series. And Jacob isn’t even jealous of Edward, now that he’s all in love with Renesmee. (Again, ewww.) Wisely, once the fighting does pipe down, Condon takes a moment to give us Bella and Edward, cuddling in a field of flowers, as they are wont to do.
Then, as the movie ends, the credits serve as a kind of curtain call—with every single character in the entire series—all 8,452 (I counted!)— getting his or her due. This is a clever conceit in many ways. For starters, one really does need a scorecard to keep up with all these vampires and werewolves and Muggles (sorry, wrong series). And Twilight fans are the type who like to applaud their favorites. It’s nice that Condon gives us all a chance to cheer—some because Twilight ever existed, and some because it’s finally over.