The cruel wait for this year's hotly anticipated (ha) release is over—and so is the Twilight series. Thank the Mormon heavens. Breaking Dawn Part 2 screened after WW press deadlines, but vampophile Kelly Clarke was there to endure the carnage.

Critic's Grade: C-

Teen Wolf
Beauty & the Beast
Fifty Shades

A little sparkle just doesn’t cut it in 2012.

And maybe that’s why the last installment in this eternal love story feels so half-hearted and painfully plodding. Every other TV show and movie has already co-opted its monster-meets-girl storyline in the past five years and taken it somewhere infinitely dirtier, funnier or just more ridiculous. Twilight feels like a Lifetime movie remake of itself—starring a trio of exhausted high-schoolers with senioritis. To be fair, all of us who not-so-secretly love all these monster mash notes should thank Stephenie Meyer and her minions for convincing TV and movie execs that we’ll totally watch this kind of fantastical, softcore blood-fluff in the first place. (Hell, without the Cullen clan’s success, would a network like HBO have eventually leapt on a genre show like Game of Thrones?)

But, sadly, all Breaking Dawn Part 2 does is confirm that Edward and his family (newly undead bride Bella included) are one boring bunch of bloodsuckers. This time, the brood’s newest member—Edward and Bella’s vamp-human halfsie baby Renesmee—is threatened by the evil masters of the undead, the Volturi. (Apparently vampiric toddlers once ate entire villages when they had temper tantrums—why this concept is not already the basis for a spinoff movie, I do not know). A handful of delicious moments come, as usual, from Michael Sheen, who plays villainous Volturi head Aro as a tittering, red-eyed mouse from crazy town with a Napoleon complex. As in past Twi-movies, he seems to be the only person in the cast not taking the convoluted plot or wooden dialogue at all seriously and therefore is awesome.

Meanwhile, the Cullens mope and eventually hatch a plan to invite an international roster of bloodsuckers with superpowers to Washington state to meet the unfortunately named moppet and tell the Volturi to buzz off. The plan goes awry, Bella and Edward stare at each other some more, one of the new fangers makes a dirt tornado…. Bunk from The Wire shows up as a lawyer who gives Bella some passports…. And there’s the filler.  

Similar to Breaking Dawn Part 1, which was saved by an amazing vampire C-section scene so over the top it cements the stolid series’ inclusion in the camp hall of fame, Part 2 is somewhat redeemed by a surprisingly clever and bloody third act that seems to gleefully incinerate whole chunks of writer Meyer’s original plotline. Purists will be incensed (briefly) while the rest of us bored stiffs warm to the sight of multiple decapitations and an honest-to-goodness river of lava. (Trust me, it’ll make sense if you actually see the flick.)

But don’t worry—in the end there are eventually kisses. And love. Endless love. Put a stake in it already, will ya?