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"It's complicated," says Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) early on in this last installment of his epic as he tries to explain some obscure plot element. Indeed. I haven't done the math, but I'll bet J.K. Rowling's seven volumes put the word count of Remembrance of Things Past to shame.

READ: Harry Potter fans are fighting the forces of evil. No, for real.

No surprise then that two of the more striking scenes in the film take place in huge mounds of clutter: searching for one Horcrux among multiplying gold baubles and for another in piles of discarded arcana. And if you don't know what a Horcrux is, then you're at the wrong movie. Ultimately, though, the heart of the story is simple: a version of the messianic myth, perhaps, or an allegory of growing up and mustering courage, loyalty, and a belief in human decency in the face of evil and death. When director David Yates focuses on that rather than the gimcracks and pyrotechnics, the long saga seems truly magical.

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