The most anticipated film of the year opens next week and the reviews have begun pouring in. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 won’t hit theaters until July 15 but as many of us plan marathons in anticipation of the opening, the first critics to see the film are mostly in agreement: The eighth and final Potter film is worth the wait. Just how good is it? Are there any flaws? Was the splitting of the two films the right call? Check out a bunch of reviews after the jump.

Just a heads up that some of these snippets contain minor spoilers, and several of the reviews themselves contain major spoilers. Proceed with caution if you haven’t read the book.

Variety: It’s taken 10 years and nearly 20 hours of screen time for J.K. Rowling’s towering fantasy saga to reach its cinematic conclusion. Yet as the final incantation is spoken and the curtain falls on the highest-grossing franchise in movie history, more than a few viewers may be left wondering: Why the rush? The series’ shortest entry at 131 minutes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 surges ahead with tremendous urgency, superb spectacle and powerful, even overwhelming emotion, only to falter with a hasty sendoff that seems to buckle under the weight of audience expectations. Tears will be shed as fans bid farewell to Hogwarts, but catharsis remains just out of reach.

The Hollywood Reporter: It ends well. After eight films in 10 years and a cumulative global box-office take of more than $6.3 billion, the most successful franchise in the history of movies comes to an obligatory — and quite satisfying — conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Fully justifying the decision, once thought purely mercenary, of splitting J.K. Rowling’s final book into two parts, this is an exciting and, to put it mildly, massively eventful finale that will grip and greatly please anyone who has been at all a fan of the series up to now. If ever there was a sure thing commercially, this stout farewell is it.

The Wrap: With the million awful, tacky, shrill, stupid, condescending, tasteless, “Eragon”-y things that could have gone wrong over the 10 years and eight movies that brought J.K. Rowling’s mega-popular Harry Potter series to the big screen, it’s practically a statistical anomaly that the final entry, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, brings its A-game from start to finish. It’s something akin to finding a herd of eight adorable, cotton-candy-pooping unicorns….If there’s one substantial flaw to the film, it’s that this cavalcade of people and places and objects can barely fit in the 130-minute running time. Looking forward to the emotional culmination of the courtship between Harry and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright)? Well, tough.

The Guardian: The Potter saga could hardly have ended on a better note. With one miraculous flourish of its wand, the franchise has restored the essential magic to the Potter legend – which had been starting to sag and drift in recent movies – zapping us all with a cracking final chapter, which looks far superior to CS Lewis’s The Last Battle or JRR Tolkien’s The Return of the King. It’s dramatically satisfying, spectacular and terrifically exciting, easily justifying the decision to split the last book into two.

The Telegraph: This is monumental cinema, awash with gorgeous tones, and carrying an ultimate message that will resonate with every viewer, young or old: there is darkness in all of us, but we can overcome it.

The Daily Mail: The final film chapter had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat at times….It’s awesome stuff. Much more fun than having to watch Ron and Hermione have a big smoochy kiss.

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