I remember reading The Hobbit for the first time around 10 years ago. I was being sent out of town for work for 2 weeks and I decided to bring a book with me. It just so happened that the book I picked up was JRR Tolkien’s first book about Middle Earth. I read the entire thing in a day. It’s not that I couldn’t put the book down. It’s just that it was very straightforward story so it was a generally easy book to read.
So I was surprised that Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro decided to split up The Hobbit into three separate films. Two films, maybe. But three? Anyway, I still watched the first two films in the trilogy (An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug). Both were fine movies; I actually loved The Desolation of Smaug. An Unexpected Journey… not so much.
But now, we’re down to the final film, The Battle of The Five Armies. I wonder if I’ll like it better than the 2nd film or hate it more than the 1st one? It turns out neither. I think it was better than An Unexpected Journey but not as good as The Desolation of Smaug. It’s almost as good as The Desolation of Smaug but missed it’s mark since The Battle of The Five Armies has one thing I didn’t like. But it’s a big thing.
Like I said in the title, this review is going to be a SPOILER FREE REVIEW. I won’t be revealing any major plot points or twists in the story. So read on!
Anyway, The Battle of The Five Armies starts exactly where The Desolation of Smaug ends. Bilbo, Thorin and the most of their party have managed to get Smaug to flee The Lonely Mountain and flies off to lay waste to Lake-Town for helping the dwarves. This could prove problematic for some viewers, especially if you can’t remember the events of the previous film. There’s no recap given or anything; it starts out in the action already. I’m fine with this since… I have a good memory I guess?
If there’s one thing I thoroughly enjoyed about movie is that it’s packed with action scenes! I estimate that throughout the films 144-minute runtime, around half of it is dedicated to huge battle set pieces. In a film that’s entitled The Battle of The Five Armies, I should expect to see, well, battles between armies! And they don’t disappoint.
The CGI used to display the large groups of people clashing against each other is impressive for the most part. The huge battle scenes are fantastic to look at. But that’s as long as you’re not looking closely. There are some times where I could see some really jerky movements, which made it very obvious it was CGI. Still, not a dealbreaker.
Even with all of these large scale skirmishes happening, they still manage to have some character development. Unfortunately, this means that some characters are shuffled into the background. Bilbo Baggins, who, up to this point, has been the focal character. Here, he’s more like a secondary character. He still does get to do some important things to help out. But in the grand scheme of things, he doesn’t do much.
The acting is also pretty good. You actually believe Martin Freeman is Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellan is Gandalf the Gray, Richard Armitage is Thorin Oakenshield and Luck Evans is Bard the Bowman. I guess the weakest link would be the guy that plays Alfrid, the sniveling servant of the Master of Lake-Town. Then again, I can’t really blame the actor since that character is extremely two-dimensional in the first place.
The movie is extremely good but, like I said earlier, there is one huge problem with The Battle of the Five Armies and that would be how it end. The film ended very abruptly in my opinion. While I didn’t want to see an overly extended ending like The Return of the King, I wanted more closure. I wish I could say more. But, as this is a spoiler free review, let’s just say I wanted more closure.
That thing doesn’t make it a bad film but it just wasn’t as good as The Desolation of Smaug. The Battle of the Five Armies still is a fantastic film. I still highly recommend watching it.
Have you watched The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies yet? What did you think of the film? Let me know in the comments section below.