Set up, yes. But very entertaining set up.
See this is how you split a book in half correctly! I was very engaged from the start until end credits with this movie, though in all honesty this is the simplest story we've had since the first movie. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are Horcrux hunting and all is not well during their trek, with attacks on Ron's family, greater numbers joining the Dark Lord, the Ministry is being changed into an oppressive almost natzi-esque political system with death eaters infiltrating the organization, and several friends being put through grave peril throughout the film. What really surprised me is though we do get a good portion of side characters, this film is carried solely on our three main leads all the way through. For two and a half hours we follow the gang Horcrux hunting, but it sets the tone a few notches darker than even the last film and is interesting throughout. As I said it is an engaging story, done in no small part to our lead actors who really do seem like they're being pushed to their limits in a hopeless situation and it's done really really well. This is some of the best acting from them throughout the series, in particular Daniel I mean that man is acting his heart out at times. I love the lore building, the tale of the three brothers is one of the best parts of the series and to learn more about this strange symbol that we have seen before is great stuff. There's just enough action, all shot wonderfully, to keep it from getting dull but honestly this film's pacing is spot on. I've met many a person who skip this movie and head to the last film because "Nothing happens in it and it's boring.", and I wanna smack the living hell out of those people. You need some buildup and it's not like a snoozefest from beginning to end, so it's not magical warfare on steroids, who cares? You can have slow pacing to a movie and it still be tremendously entertaining, but again the movie doesn't feel slow at all. I did find one scene just so out of place it's almost inexcusable. What in the flying dutchman was that dance scene? Now I get it, there are moments of humor and happiness to alleviate the serious nature of the story and to liven things up a bit. There is nothing wrong with that, I very much enjoyed the comedic relief in this movie, but this nonsense seems so un-Harry Potter both in tone with the story but also the production. Shock of all shocks it wasn't in the book, and for good reason, I was so perplexed by this choice. It felt like I was watching some rom-com bullshit, not Harry Potter. It was stupid, I hated it, and I want it Obliviated from my mind. Beyond that though, great movie! I loved Luna's dad, the gorgeous scenery in Godric's Hollow was a real treat, the climax in the Malfoy house was great if skin crawlingly disturbing at points, we needed more Ralph and Alan cause the one scene they did have was amazing. That ending though, bit rough to watch I must say. I really do appreciate the very real moments in this film, where it kind of becomes something more than just a movie and really isn't that what the Harry Potter series has meant for so many? It's not just films or books, it's something more that people grasped onto and forged memories worth remembering, and it changed their lives for the better and have a great love for the series, characters, story, and moments. I see the love and I know it is very much still alive today, and I am a fan. Happy to be one, in fact. So to see it end so soon, is a bittersweet thing. But something that must be done nevertheless. Until next time friends, 4 stars, 8/10, this is the beginning of the end.