So I will preface this by saying I was not a fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. That’s right I said it. I was not a fan. And because of my lack of fan ship after seeing the three films, I chose not to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. When Smaug was released on DVD I finally took to time to watch An Unexpected Journey and Desolation of Smaug. I felt first film was a little childish and cheesy, but I decided to carry on and watch the second. Which I loved. That said I never watched either again until right before going to see The Hobbit: There and Back Again The Battle of Five Armies. My feelings toward the 2 remained the same, and as for the third and final adventure in Middle Earth? That thing is AWESOME!
So it’s time to return Middle Earth for one last adventure. And Peter Jackson has pulled out all the stops. Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, and Lee Pace, among others, all return for the final battle, and a battle it is. We pick up literally immediately where Desolation of Smaug leaves off and Smaug (Cumberbatch) is ravaging the town. Bard (Evans) stands up to Smaug and the standoff is nothing short of Epic. We now have Thorin (Armitage) and Crew back in control of Lonely Mountain. As Bard and The Elves come to claim what the feel is owed to them, The Orc army attacks, and the battle begins.
I loved this film. Where the first film is basically all story, and the second is a good mixture of story and action, this film is nearly all action. The battle literally takes up 90 minutes (maybe more) of the films 144 minute run time is an all-out war. And not that he would be reading this, but Michael Bay, take a little note. This is how you do a war! Not a single minute of the battle is wasted or feels forced. It is shot beautifully, and the CGI, though at times is noticeable, is still pretty crisp. The film takes place nearly all in one setting, right outside of the Lonely Mountain, so you don’t get a lot of Middle Earth, but you still feel like you are in this world still.
The story, though not heavily focused on is still well done. I never read the book, so I don’t know how close to the source material they stayed. I know Legolas was not in the book, but he is a great edition to the film. Bloom plays the character so seamlessly that you forget that that is Orlando Bloom, you just see the character. And he is so Bad A! Probably the most kick butt character in this film. The story arches between the characters are tied up and done perfectly, especially the relationship between Bilbo and Thorin. The film serves as a seamless link between Lord of the Rings trilogy and this Hobbit trilogy.
That said I had a few problems. There is some “Stormtrooper” logic to some of the Orcs during the battle that can take you out of the film, but those are the most easy to overlook. There is a character played by Ryan Gage named Alfrid, who had a small role in Smaug, and he is kind of the “Slimy Smee like comic relief” and the character gets about 20-25 minutes of screen time and I could have done with them killing him after 3 minutes. The character is cartoony and he completely takes you out of the film every time he is involved in a scene. Also, an aspect I liked in Smaug was the relationship between Tauriel and Kili. However in this film it feels very forced, and unnecessary. In no way does it suck you in, and you just don’t care about the relationship.
So all in all, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is an epic end to Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth. So good in fact that it has made me make the decision to go back for the first time since I saw them in theaters and rewatch The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And for a film to do that, because I hated them, I’m giving it a full .5 bonus to go with my score of 5.1, giving us a Jeebus Score of 5.6, Multiple Viewings Required.