*Spoilers ahead*Since I originally missed the first 12 minutes or so of the new Harry Potter, I wanted to be sure I saw the rest before I wrote my review. And it turns out I was right to do so (I'm biased, I know). My first opinion of the film was that it was much funnier than the first 6, with dark parts. This was because I walked in just as the funnier parts were starting. Yes, there was action, but watching lots of people transform into Harry was pretty funny - and Fred and George's humor was hysterical. However, after seeing the very sad and then scary scenes that actually show before the humor, the movie is set up to be very dark, with few moments of levity to lighten the load. Watching Hermione erase her parents' memories, and then watching the DeathEaters at Malfoy manner kill the Muggle studies teacher, you know you've been set up for a very dark film.
My opinion of the rest of the film was well talked out in Episode 23 of the Reel Insight podcast. In summary, I thought the acting was much improved over the previous incarnations, particularly Emma Watson's Hermione. This could be because she wasn't forced into false laughter (which always bothered me) and the seriousness between all the characters made for better acting. There were jump in your seat moments when the snake appears in Godric's Hollow, and what were they thinking moments with the silver body paint in Ron's nightmare, but overall, the movie flowed fairly well from moment to moment (with a slight dragging section in the middle, but I didn't mind that part, the good acting helped). I did have a problem with the ending - it didn't feel even a tiny bit complete, but nor did it feel like a cliffhanger (the only acceptable Hollywood ending without resolution). I think they needed to do a bit more with Dobby's funeral to give a feeling of completeness, but since the story was already running so long, they just stopped. Oh well, I'll enjoy watching it again in preparation for Part II. My score remains as previously stated 4.5 of 5 stars/lambs