Here’s the problem with the final Twilight installment: it contains not a single human being.
This is literally true, now that Bella (Kristen Stewart) has gone vamp, but in a figurative sense there’s no character to invest in, nobody who you believe has ever felt love or hate or desire or loss or longing.
It’s weird that a franchise supposedly built on irrepressible passion and sweeping Gothic melodrama should conclude on such an emotionally stunted note.
Returning director Bill Condon’s first Breaking Dawn chapter faltered in its attempts to marry what’s essentially a pitch-black body-horror tale – young girl is seduced by vampire and physically ripped apart by demon offspring – with the franchise’s schmoopy romance.
has the opposite problem; far from being dark, it plays best as an absurdist black comedy, intentionally stiff and farcical.
We pick up on Bella adjusting to being a vampire, which judging by Condon’s sun-dappled, kinetically edited opening sequence is mostly like being in a music video.
There’s no time wasted on aftermath following Part 1 ’s grisly climax, no moment where either Bella or her sparkly soulmate Edward (Robert Pattinson) grapples with her choice or grieves her death.
Instead, the plot centres on their hybrid daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), who’s marked for death by sinister vampire coven the Volturi.
There are too many laugh-out-loud ludicrous moments to count – Bella and Edward’s raw, animalistic undead sex is distinctly less of a bang than a whimper, while Jacob’s (Taylor Lautner) wolfy love bond with little Renesmee is every bit as creepy as you’ve heard.
But it’s not all bad; Michael Sheen’s on top scenery-chewing form as creepy-camp Volturi leader Aro, and look out for a brilliantly self-parodic sequence involving Bella’s poor dad (Billy Burke) and Lautner’s trademark shirt-stripping.
Most pleasantly surprising is the climactic battle sequence, a sharply directed no-holds-barred blowout that achieves genuine thrills; but a painfully misjudged final twist undoes much of its good work.
Between its farcical script, soulless relationships and waxwork performances, this is a final chapter that will please only the most devout fans. At least the bleeding wolves have stopped talking.