The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, was the epic conclusion to the story of Middle Earth. Since 2011, you had a Hobbit film to look forward to every Christmas and years before that, the same happened with Lord of the Rings. The direction for the grand finale came from Peter Jackson with writing by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro.
Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and company have made it to the Lonely Mountain. The last time we saw our luck-wearing, barrel-riding Hobbit, he was in awe as Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) flew away with Lake Town in his sights. An unsuspecting hero arises to confront Smaug the tyrannical, and as it turns out, he was the least of their worries.
When Bard (Luke Evans) and Thranduil (Lee Pace) visit the mountain to claim their share of the treasure, they are met by a Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) suffering from dragon sickness and drunk with power and greed. The gold corrupted his heart and caused him to turn on his friends.
The 3 barely have time to discuss their discrepancies as the enemy begins to close in. “The Battle of the Five Armies” comes from the races engaged in battle: Men, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and Goblins.
Even though this film was epic in many ways, after watching, Jackson could’ve ended this after 2 installments. A rushed ending to Smaug and a noticeable “fast forward” from Thorin, Bard, and Thranduil to the battle everyone was expecting, are just a few of the noticeable problems. Some unexpected characters are killed off in the film but, the way and manner in which they were killed was epic. There were too many scenes, lines, and bits of action that were in the trailer that never happened in the film. Having read the book and seen the animated movie from the early 80s, another apparent issue was the 5 armies. Because there wasn’t a Goblin “army,” there were really only 4 armies in battle. Aside from that, the film should be good enough to please even the most extreme Tolkien purist.
Bilbo’s bravery is put on display in various moments throughout the movie. After trying to talk sense into Thorin, he also makes a firm statement to Gandalf (Ian McKellen), aggressively confronts Thorin regarding the arkenstone, and he even went towards Azog’s (Manu Bennett) army just to warn his friends of a coming calamity. We also saw quick cameos from the likes of Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Saruman (Christopher Lee), and Elrond (Hugo Weaving).
The fight scenes are pretty exciting as well. Bard gets his taste of action, we got to see Thranduil fight for the first time, Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) sees her fair-share of battle, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) decimated more than a few orcs before his epic standoff with Bolg (Lawrence Makoare), and the epic finale between Thorin and Azog the Defiler lived up to its hype.
There’s love, happiness, sadness, comedy, and many a lessons-learned. It touts the exuberance of a stand-alone film even though it’s the final part of a trilogy. It possesses all of the attributes of a great movie and should meet the demands of Hobbit fans the world-over. It gets a solid 9 out of 10. This is the shortest of the 3 Hobbit films at 2hrs and 20 minutes and even the most dedicated fans may become annoyed with all of the CG. It possesses the potential to be a great 3D film (we saw it in standard) and should be a good screening no matter the time of day (because of its shorter runtime). Seeing the final installment is bittersweet. You’re excited because after a year of waiting you finally saw the screening, but because you’ve seen it, you know it’s the end of the road.