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Twilight series-ender ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2’ a howling good time

What James Bond is to middle-aged guys, the Twilight movies are to teenage girls. They’ll be lined up in droves Thursday as the fifth and final film in the series, “Breaking Dawn Part 2,” debuts.

For a series that started out so soapy and mopey, it sure ends up in a surprisingly lively and entertaining way. Starting with that outrageous birth scene finale in “Breaking Dawn Part 1,” and closing with an all-out battle scene between establishment vampires and a rag-tag army of rogue vampires allied with werewolves, the Twilight films finally learned to embrace its own ridiculousness and even have fun with it.

“After 18 years of being utterly ordinary, our heroine Bella comes into her own as a vampire. This is a girl’s coming of age story told in the guise of a vampire tale.”

The Twilight films and books started out as a teenage love triangle. Edward loves Bella, Jacob loves Bella, Bella loves them both. What’s a girl to do? Complicating matters is the fact that Edward is a vampire and Jacob is a werewolf. Ah, the travails of young love.

This tempestuous triangle takes at least three movies to sort out before the fourth film, “Breaking Dawn Part 1” – when Bella and Edward finally get married, have bed-breaking sex, and ultimately have some kind of baby in a horror birth scene that rivals “Saw” for blood and gore.

Now, in “Breaking Dawn Part 2” all is seemingly settled, Bella has become a vampire, the werewolves have made peace with them and everything ends happily. All is well except for the old guard vampires, the Volturi, who don’t like the idea of this half-human, half-vampire baby, and declare holy war on them.

This leads to that climactic battle scene in a snowy clearing in the woods – when Edward’s vampires and Jacob’s werewolves band together to take on the Volturi.

A lot of fantasy franchises come down to a final standoff between good and evil and I’ve got to say, the Twilight finale is not nearly as laborious as the one in “Lord of the Rings” nor as anti-climactic as Harry Potter’s wand-off with Voldermort.

“Breaking Dawn Part 2” takes itself a lot less seriously and is a lot more fun. The audience is cheering and laughing in almost equal parts. Besides, there haven’t been this many beheadings since the French Revolution.

“Breaking Dawn Part 2” is a hoot. Or should I say, a howling good time.

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