Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's surrealist courtship, both on- and off-screen, rightly dominates Twilight discussion, but the final installment of the most weirdly fascinating franchise in a decade belongs to Michael Sheen. A talented actor with a taste for macabre cheese, the Englishman violates the boundaries of scientific reason with the amount of fun he has as Aro, leader of the sexually inscrutable Volturi. That's one of the only aspects of Breaking Dawn, Part 2 humans of all tolerance levels can enjoy. The rest is contingent on your capacity for laughter and threshold for pain.
Bill Condon, who also shot the first half of the concluding arc, has got to know that every shoddy glimpse, bizarre costume and disastrous bit of dialogue within seems like a cog in an elaborate practical joke. Watching permasulky Edward (Pattinson) and the truly awful Bella (Stewart) have sex on a Brazilian island in Part 1 was bad enough — now we're subjected to Bella, who's treated every non-vamp who's ever cared for her like utter shit through the years, awkwardly doting on her half-undead daughter, Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). The birth of that freakish child, classified a grave violation of vampire law by the governing Volturi, sets in motion the ultimate fang-on-fang showdown, a surprisingly violent conflict with more gleeful decapitations than season one of Game of Thrones. It's here that Condon flashes his sense of humor; he'll definitely deliver the best slo-mo plummet of a CGI werewolf into a earthen chasm you've ever witnessed.
It's foolish to expect anything other than galumphing out of our two leads, a realization that puts performances both good (Sheen, Billy Burke) and godawful (everyone else, especially freaking Taylor Lautner) into clearest focus. To scold Stephenie Meyer and her irresponsible pandering to young folks is to waste a finger wag — she's made many people many dollars, a pop-fiction accomplishment that, like it or not, usually drowns out dissent. Instead of exhausting yourself screaming about how much The Twilight Saga sucks — and it does suck, so, so much — tolerate it for what it is (junk food) and cherish it for what it isn't (taken seriously).