Peter Jackson’s second Middle Earth trilogy comes to a grand conclusion in the third instalment of the Hobbit saga. The final film starts immediately where Desolation of Smaug left off, as Smaug the dragon is set free on Lake Town. We also now find Bilbo (Martin Freeman) Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan), Thorin (Richard Armitage) and the rest of the Dwarves trying to recover their homeland just as a battle of five armies of Men, Elves, Orcs, Goblins and Dwarves is about to unfold on Erebor’s doorstep. But there is a sickness that lies in the mountain as Thorin is slowly beginning to be driven mad by the Arkenstone, while one last war will decide the fate of Middle Earth forever.
The Lord of the rings is my favorite movie of all time, Middle Earth is my religion, it is the blood that pumps in my veins, and I really enjoyed both Hobbit movies (Desolation of Smaug being my favorite) and I was really looking forward to this movie. The battle of the Five Armies is thankfully a fitting send-off to a great trilogy.
This is the shortest Middle Earth film so far at a runtime of 2h24 min and it’s the most action-packed of all the three Hobbit films. If people complained that An Unexpected Journey was too slow, this is the reverse affect off that. This movie is filled with tons of incredible action sequences that are mind-blowing to look at. The cinematography is breathtaking and it has those Peter Jackson’s battle sequences shots that we’ve all come to expect. It’s epic, it’s grand and it’s emotionally resonant.
Martin Freeman is still perfect as Bilbo Baggins, and he completely inhabits the character seemingly. He was the best choice to replace Ian Holmes from the original trilogy and his character continues to evolve and grow throughout this last film.
Richard Armitage is amazing as Thorin Oakensheild, and he continues to be the best addition to this new trilogy. The character has a great emotional arc and you could make an argument that this story has been about Thorin’s quest rather than Bilbo’s and I can see why some people can be upset about that since it doesn’t quite follow the book.
Do I even need to say that Sir Ian McKellan is excellent as Gandalf? He’s one of the biggest badass in movie history. He has become that character and is simply terrific.
There is a lot of action, but there some great emotional scenes as well, between Bilbo and Thorin Oakensheild who remains the best new character of this trilogy. Bilbo desperately tries to help Thorin from losing his humanity before he is completely corrupt and their scenes together are just magnificent.
And there’s also an epic action scene between the Necromancer, Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond which is the best and most exciting action scene of the entire year. I love Gandalf’s quest for the search of the Necromancer and it’s what really brings the entire six Lord of the Rings movies together.
The score by Howard Shore is once again fantastic, and just raises the excitement during the action scenes. The end credits song by Billy Boyd (Pippin) entitled The Last Goodbye is emotionally powerful even though I did feel like “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran was a bit better.
The credit really does go to Peter Jackson, who was able to make six fantastic movies and has devoted a big portion of his life to this world we all love so much (he began the journey way back in 1999, Elijah Wood was eighteen at the time) and I tip my hat off to him.
As for the ending, without giving anything away, was perfect. The end tide itself seemingly with the Lord of the Rings and it gives you a warm feeling that you have so many hours of content of Middle Earth but it may also leave you a bit sad knowing that this may be the last one (which I highly doubt).
As for negatives, there might be a bit too much CGI, and that can be a bit overwhelming at times while Lord of the rings had a brilliant mix of both CGI and practical effects. While it didn’t take me out of the film, I can understand why some people might not get in to the movie because of it.
And at times, it can feel a bit rushed, since some of the storylines of the characters aren’t completely resolved like Bard played wonderfully by Luke Evans and Tauriel portrayed so well by Evangeline Lilly even if she didn’t appear in the book. We don’t know what really will happen to them since they are never again seen in The Lord of the Rings and I wish that they wrapped their storylines better. There’s also a part of me that wanted the movie to be longer but we’re going to get the extended edition with 30 minutes of extra footage anyway.
There’s also a really dumb scene which I can’t talk about here because it’s a spoiler but it revolves around the confrontation between Azog and Thorin which was really poorly handled.
Overall, while it is sometimes a bit rushed, and there is a bit too much CGI, and some of the conclusion of the storylines could have been better handled, The Hobbit: Battle of the five armies is filled with great epic action sequences, smaller emotional character moments which makes it a great send-off and a fitting end to a great trilogy that seemingly ties into the Lord of the Rings.