The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part Two
Rated: PG-13 :: Released: 16 November 2012
Director: Bill Condon :: Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner
By Preston Nelson
29 November 2012 — I went to the theater today, and I saw a remarkable film. Minutes after the lights had gone out, I was thrilled, shocked, and genuinely worried for the characters on the screen. But like all good things, the trailer for Iron Man 3 had to end and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part Two had to begin. This film is the finale of the Twilight juggernaut. Will Bella and Edward be okay? Will Jacob find love? Will any of the interesting characters be given anything to do, at all? Will anyone be even a third as likable as Billy Burke? (Spoilers: Yes, yes, no, and hell no.) Also, this review will contain spoilers about everything, because this movie was terrible and you need to know why.
We join our heroes — I mean, they're not really heroes, but whatever. We join Edward and Bella where we left them off. Bella is dead on account of having unprotected sex with her husband. Twice. Thankfully, Bella's husband turned her into a vampire after chewing right through her uterus. So she not only birthed some sort of unspeakable horror, she turned into one, too! That's a double-point maneuver! Other than some pretty awful red-colored contacts and some awesome super-senses, Bella is still pretty much Bella; she's concerned chiefly with herself, and instantly begins staring at herself in the mirror, until her husband speaks to her, giving the first lines of the movie: "We're the same temperature now."
And on that high note of English literature, we're off. Edward keeps Bella from seeing their mutant vampire / human daughter, but informs Bella that she's hungry. Because Bella is still incapable of thinking for herself, she agrees, and the pair goes off into the woods to hunt. Bella puts her array of super-senses to use, stalking a deer. However, the wind shifts and the scent of a man rock-climbing nearby sends Bella into a frenzy. After the man skins his knee, she rushes up the mountain, digging her newly strong fingers into the rock. She nearly eats the guy, but Edward stops her, using his magic powers of saying things. And because Bella is still incapable of thinking for herself, she agrees and goes off into the woods to hunt. And I reused that sentence on purpose, because nothing really fucking happened. Bella kills an endangered mountain lion, and with her bloodlust sated, she and Edward return to the Cullen family home. There, Edward reminds Bella what a special unique snowflake she is, because she resisted human blood. This does not make up for the past four movies, where he treated her as an object.
At the house, we're rejoined by Taylor Lautner's abs playing Jacob Black. Jacob recently imprinted on Edward and Bella's daughter. Imprinting is the werewolf equivalent of becoming a weird ass "nice guy" stalker. This comes to light, and even though Jacob explains that it's purely involuntary, Bella nearly beats him within an inch of his life, using her new vampire strength. Jacob, being a douchebag but not a big enough douchebag to hit a woman, simply takes it. Edward seemingly gets off on watching his wife beat up a dude with broad shoulders and great abs, and refuses to stop her. Eventually, Bella gets bored with nearly murdering her ex-boyfriend, and goes inside to see her child.
Other than my standard complaints with these movies (RE: misogyny; awful pacing; Stewart, Kristen), this baby is one of the biggest issues with this movie. You see, Renesmee (still not a fucking name, but we'll go with it) is a unique and beautiful snowflake, just like mom. And because she's so extra special, we can't just have any human baby lay there and coo. No, we shall use technology to build a super-baby! Sadly, they didn't try sewing parts of Suri Cruise to some of Brangelina's kids or making a super-baby serum. They instead relied on the CGI processing power of the greatest computer known to mankind: the Nintendo 64.
Look at that face and tell me that isn't Oddjob from GoldenEye 007, I dare you. Frankly, a still shot doesn't do it justice. That thing is best seen on a 40-foot screen, its dead eyes staring into the pit of your soul, seeing all the things you've done and the things you've left undone. At some point, I promise, the tears will stop. You'll still hate yourself, but the void left there, well, that's worse than any pain the eyes could inflict.
Wow. We got dark there for a minute.
So, somehow, Bella loves this dead-eyed monster and doesn't immediately chuck its screaming body into that fire back there. The baby touches her cheek, and she sees the heroin-chic phase she went through in the last movie — which is apparently the poor baby's first memory. She forgives Jacob for no adequately explained reason, and the Cullens continue their creepy cult induction of Bella by deciding to lie to her father, telling him she's dead, and then moving far away until everyone in Washington that knows them is dead. I guess because Carlisle didn't want to be the lame grandfather, compared to Billy Burke. Jacob, being less of a sociopath than everyone else in the room, decides that's pretty messed up and hops on his dirt bike, racing off to Charlie Swan.
Jacob informs Charlie that Bella is alive and healthy. He then strips his clothes off, explaining that he has to show him something. Amazingly, this does not end with Jacob's exposed penis causing Charlie to shoot him, but instead Jacob turns into a wolf in front of Charlie, explaining that the world is much different than what he knows. Charlie arrives at the Cullen home, and upon finding his daughter is told that she is different, yes, but she can't tell him why. It's earlier stated that the Volturi (these kind of Catholic vampires) will kill any human that finds out about vampires. After alienating her father even more, Edward carries in the horror known as baby Renesmee and introduces her to her grandfather. Despite the fact that Charlie has only been separated from his daughter for a period of weeks, he is completely accepting of this. This guy is the most lenient, stupid father in the history of fatherhood. I would have razed the house and shot anything that crawled out. Charlie is all, "Oh, okay." Bella and Edward then have vampire sex for the first time and Bella cums sparkles. Seriously. She moans and, boom, glitter shoots fucking everywhere. I couldn't make this up. Bella then shows that she's even more awesome and beautiful and totally awesome and not at all a Mary Sue by beating Emmet, the strongest Cullen, at arm wrestling.
I take offense at this. Emmet Cullen looks like he fucking ate three Chris Hemsworths. This is a man that Brock Lesnar looks at and says, "Why don't you try some cardio, bro?" Kristen Stewart is a mop with a woman's face and implants. How in the fuck does anyone possibly justify this, other than the author just plugging her ears and singing loudly in the face of logic.
So Renesmee starts aging rapidly, a month or so passes, and she's now physically about seven years old. Some blond bimbo vampire from Alaska is coming to visit the Cullens, but sees Bella and Jacob playing with Renesmee and freaks out, because Renesmee does a little bit of levitating while she tries catching snowflakes. The blond chick, whose name I'm too lazy to look up, runs off, which Bella sees but is unable to prevent. She returns to the Cullen house, and the psychic Cullen, Alice, has a vision of the Volturi descending upon the Cullen home. Everyone freaks out, because this means that Bimbo Vampire is gonna go talk to the Vampire Pope and they're all gonna die because the Vampire Pope will think Renesmee is an immortal child. The concept of an immortal child is explained in a flashback, most notable for Dakota Fanning chucking a toddler into a campfire. Basically, toddler vampires never grow up, so they just kill, kill, kill, and the Vampire Pope, Aro, made them illegal in Vampire Law.
The Cullens decide the best course of action is to gather their own Vampire Super Friends who will all totally vouch for them. Edward, Bella, Jacob, and the monstrosity all go and visit Dexter's Brother, Christian Carmaggio, who lives in Alaska with two blond vampires — one of whom is also Electro from the Spider-Man comics, I guess. They sign on. Carlisle and Esmee go to an unnamed Middle Eastern country and meet some vampires who are friendly, one of whom can control the four classical elements — like Zatanna did when she sucked in the 70s. Emmett and Rosalie find some vampire who can play guitar and looks exactly like Chad Kroeger from Nickelback. I guess they're gonna try to get the Vampires Templar to kill him first. Alice and Jasper just run away. They disappear, leaving nothing but a note. A few more vaguely racist vampires show up, including some Brazilian tribeswomen in nothing but animal skins, three Irish people that do and say almost nothing, and a couple of Romanian midgets that have some grudge against the Vampire Pope.
At this point I should mention that the Vampire Pope is played by Michael Sheen. He's unrelated to Charlie, but he's just as manic. Some other vampire, an Englishman named Alistair, shows up, sulks, and acts like the character that you know will be totally important later in the movie. (Spoiler: He never is. He just fucking leaves after three lines. He's never given any backstory, or has any impact on anything. He is, as many things in this film, entirely pointless.) Bella then learns why Edward could never read her thoughts. She is, surprise, totally unique and awesome and stuff, and has what's called a "shield" (RE: an immunity) to any vampire's secondary powers. And with a little work, she learns to project it onto others. We've suddenly gone from vampires to the shittiest X-Men movie imaginable. Edward tells Bella that he's always underestimated her, and he's sorry for that. This still does not make up for the previous four films where he treated her as an object.
The werewolves join the Cullens, and Bella is given some documents to sneak Jacob and Renesmee out of the country, if it comes to it. The Cullens and their new friends and allies prepare to face the Volturi in combat. Carlisle attempts to talk Aro down, and in an open field both sides assemble with their various armies of vampires with superpowers that make little sense. It's revealed that Renesmee isn't a vampire, she's something else entirely (RE: Daywalker, Blade trilogy). Aro then decides to slaughter everyone anyway. Alice and Jasper return, and Alice tries to use her precognitive powers to talk the Vampire Pope down, but he refuses. He and Carlisle attack one another, and Carlisle is decapitated, causing fangirls everywhere to cry out in agony. What follows is like the battle of Helm's Deep from the Lord of the Rings movies, only with Abercrombie & Fitch models instead of Orcs. Jasper Cullen is killed as well, and Bella sends Jacob away with her daughter. A few more of the nameless werewolves are killed, which is supposed to be sad, I guess, but I didn't care. Dakota Fanning and Leech from X-Men: The Last Stand get killed, and eventually Aro the Vampire Pope is killed, too. The Volturi are sent packing, and, despite heavy losses, our heroes learned a great lesson. They vow never to forget the sacrifices of Carlisle and Jasper, and Bella learned that the right thing to do isn't always the easy one. Sure, it's a downer ending, but it's good. It's real, you know.
Wait, no. Sorry. The whole battle was a dream. Nobody died. Alice just made Vampire Pope see that he couldn't win with her magic powers and he leaves. Everyone lives, forever, happily ever after. The end. No, I'm not joking. That's a thing. That ending belongs to the ages. When given a chance to have real resolution and have characters grown and change and mature, this series chooses instead to wrap everything up in a tight little bow. Holy fuck. I mean, I knew Stephanie Meyer was writing her masturbatory fantasies, and somehow every other woman in the world just happened to be down with that, but really? I mean, people paid money for this. The worst part is that nothing is resolved. The evil Vampire Pope is still around. The Cullens are still just as disgustingly happy as before. And nothing important happened, at all. Imagine if Reed Richards screamed at Doctor Doom, "You can't win, Victor!" And Doom, with his army of Doombots behind him, weapons cocked, looked up and sighed through his mask, "Well, shit. Really?" Then he just went home. You know why you can't imagine that? Because that's fucking stupid.
When it comes down to it, beyond the misogyny, the racism, and the unhealthy relationships, Twilight had one message: do whatever you want, no matter what anyone else tells you, and it'll be epic. You don't have to take an active role in your own life. An awesome hot vampire will scoop you up, give you a demon baby, and you'll feed Dakota Fanning to wolves. Cue one incredibly self-indulgent curtain call featuring anyone that was in all five movies and this shit mercifully ends.
Like I said about the last one, it's pretty, the music is good, and Billy Burke is still decent. But the whole movie is artificially drug out, and even the actors seem bored with it. The effects are laughable at best, and existentially terrifying at worst. Hopefully, the talented people like Pattinson and Lautner can move on to other projects now, and Kirsten Stewart can keep ruining her career by blowing anything that moves and being unable to act, even a little. Though, her attempts at playing the vampire Bella, as a creature of confidence and power, are miles better than anything else I've seen from her. But she's still pretty bad.
Ending a franchise is something that has to be done with grace and tact. For comparison, let's look at the Christopher Nolan Batman films. Without spoiling the film, The Dark Knight Rises offers quite a few status quo changes, and a psychologically satisfying ending for almost every character involved, especially our protagonist. Now, I fully realize that Nolan is a much different filmmaker than Bill Condon. I realize Nolan is a much better filmmaker than Bill Condon. I realize Nolan had 70 years of history and near-total freedom to do whatever he wanted, opposed to five pretty terrible books and corporate overlords breathing down his throat. Of the three Twilight movies I've seen thus far, this is probably the best one. That said, it's not even approaching good. Terrible effects, bored actors, and the biggest non-ending to a movie I've seen in a long time all add up to me being glad that no more of these films will be made, and little girls have moved on to The Hunger Games. Admittedly, The Hunger Games isn't brilliant, but at least Katniss makes a decision here and there, rather than being a blank palette middle-aged women can paste their own faces on, so they can imagine Robert Pattinson doing them, just so they can feel something, anything, other than this empty life they've fallen into.
Wow, we got dark there again.
Goodbye and good riddance, Twilight. You made the entire human species worse just by existing.