It's just a movie. Only it's not. It's actually kind of hard to overstate the cultural importance of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." There's an entire generation attached to this movie.

It's just a movie. Only it's not.

It's actually kind of hard to overstate the cultural importance of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." There's an entire generation attached to this movie.

Kids barely old enough to read when the first book came out can go out and legally buy a drink after the final movie. And countless older "kids" rediscovered their love of reading through the series.

So it's a bittersweet end as the final adaptation of the beloved books hits the big screen. Expect tears, both from nostalgia and some truly amazing storytelling.

I once again applaud the decision to split this last book into two films. The movies have always struggled to balance how much they include - either running a bit too long or making cuts that drew the ire of purists.

So "Part 2" opens with goose bump-inducing dramatic flair, picking up right where we left our heroes last winter - which was a state of seemingly hopeless despair.

Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) are still in search of the remaining Horcruxes, the magical items they must destroy to have any hope of killing evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). It all leads to a truly epic final siege at Hogwarts.

As the series matured, so have the films. The whimsical intro to the world of wizardry was perfect kids' fare, but it's moved on to this, a draining and deeply emotional experience.

The two-part structure left the heaviest stuff for this 130-minute finale - making it the shortest Potter film and probably the best.

Director David Yates gives the big moments room to breathe. He's prone to pauses that give fans of the series time to appreciate the gravity of the big moments. And there are plenty of those.

There are thrills and laughs as well, and the visual wonder we've come to expect. And those kids cast more than a decade ago? Most of them have grown into pretty fine actors.

"Hallows: Part 2" also marks the first Potter movie presented in 3D, after plans to convert the previous film to 3D were scrapped. My advice? You can skip the 3D. Our memories of this series are 2D. Why switch now?

The only thing keeping me from a full four stars? So much is dependent on what you already have invested in the series. For fans, it's a tearful, near-perfect final enchantment.