'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2' review: Twilight twist surprises fans

I won't give away the twist.

And by "twist," I mean the moment that produced an audible reaction in the theater where I braved Thursday's 10 p.m. premiere of "The Twlight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2."

How much of a twist is it?

"We were freaking out," Kayla Rosso, 18, of Phenix City said after watching the premiere at Carmike 15 in Columbus.

Other moviegoers agreed.

"It jerked on my feelings," Rikki Hightower, 16, of Harris County said while standing outside Carmike 15 after the film.

It was a big day for Hightower, one of the many fans who prepared for "Breaking Dawn Part 2" -- the fifth and final film in the vampire franchise -- by watching a daylong marathon of the previous "Twilight" films at Carmike 15. She arrived at the theater at 9:30 a.m. Thursday for the marathon, which was scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m.

From a quality standpoint, she called "Breaking Dawn Part 2" the best in the series. But she added, "The first one will always be my favorite."

Make no mistake: Hightower still appreciates the newest film. So much, in fact, that she estimated she'll watch it 100 times. "I'm serious," said Hightower, who attended the marathon and premiere with her cousin.

The lobby area at Carmike 15 was busy when I arrived about an hour before the premiere. I didn't see any costumes, but decorations inside the lobby celebrated a baby shower. Yes, I'm referring to the birth of Bella and Edward's daughter, Renesmee. (Bella and Edward are played by Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, of course.)

Nosegay Florist of Phenix City had a display that included baby shower balloons, while Mickayla's Place, a children's resale shop in Columbus, had all sorts of baby-themed goodies to give away. I'm sorry I missed the miniature bottles filled with Red Hots. (You know, because vampire babies drink blood.)

While female teens made up a significant segment of the crowd, the 10 p.m. screening attracted a fairly diverse assortment of people -- including male "Twilight" fans.

"I actually do like 'Twilight,'" said Vijay Butanas, 19, of Columbus. "It's not really a chick flick. Some guys just don't want to admit it." He attended the premiere with his girlfriend.

Back to the movie. Without giving away too many secrets, I'll note that it focuses on a face-off between the Cullen clan and the Volturi. The face-off is spurred by something related to Renesmee. There. Was that vague enough?

One thing I'll describe with a little more clarity: The film started at 10 p.m., and we got our first glimpse of Taylor Lautner's abs at approximately 10:45. Overheard in my theater: "Take it off!"

(By the way, my theater was very full, but some seats remained empty.)

This was my first "Twilight" film -- yes, EVER -- and for the sake of full disclosure, I'll note I went into the theater expecting to be underwhelmed. But it was actually pretty enjoyable.

"I think the actors grew. The storyline was just phenomenal," Sarah McCain, 18, of Columbus said after the film.

What's spurred my ambivalence toward the "Twilight" franchise? I'm a little hesitant about the whole "girl gets defined by her relationship" concept.

While my view hasn't changed, I appreciated "Breaking Dawn Part 2" as a fairly entertaining piece of escapism -- and temporary entry into a world where the complexities of feminism take a back seat to refining your super powers.

The team behind the film must have done something right. By the final scene, I'd learned to regard it as a love story.

Then again, maybe that was just because I'd watched the last "Twilight" film ever.

"It's going to be a classic," Alyssa Wheeler, 22, of Columbus told me before the film. "I'm sad that it's done. I don't want it to be the end."

But eventually, the credits rolled and fans returned to the lobby to see people waiting for the 12:45 a.m. screening. I didn't hear anybody give away the twist.

With the film franchise's end (fairly) certain, it's only right to leave room for a little surprise.

If you've seen "Breaking Dawn Part 2," comment and share your review of the film.