The Hobbit: “The Battle of Five Armies” is the rising action that results in a solid payoff for the first two films. The grand scheme of stretching the short story to three films seems to be vindicated by the proper allocation of time to key elements throughout the adventure that gave the book, The Hobbit,  its character, most important of which has to be the massive war that caps off the tale.

Starting high with a well earned resolution for Smaug, things quickly progress to the conflict and battle, which consumes the majority of the comparatively slim length of the whole movie, making this easily the most concise and short chapters of the Middle Earth films.

A more resounding thematic element is present– driving home the relevance of the previous two films–on the grim, corrupting realities of war and greed, as well as the  idea of home and love. The time invested into the characters makes the closing moments that much more meaningful.

There is some heavy CGI use like in the other two films, but there is no denying that Five Armies is the most visually appealing and action packed of the trilogy. Hardly a minute goes by that there isn’t epic battle sequencing or events. This film time revolving around one incredibly action packed event could leave the impression on some that “The Battle of Five Armies” feels more like the Hobbit 2.5. But it’s hard to definitively say that the story would have been better within the maximum time allowed for one or two films without suffering in pacing and sacrificing homage to the story. The battle scenes are stunning and fresh, and It’s hard to see how any casual fan could not enjoy it.

More cool use of Tolkien appendices lends its hand to some interesting scenes that bring a larger connection to the Lord of the Rings, and the conclusion itself is a really heartwarming segue.

The Hobbit trilogy is fantastic in its own right. It cannot justly be compared to the LOTR movies because of how very different the focus is of the two stories. There is excess and tedious content in the Hobbit films that gives considerable pleasure to junkies like me, but that is obnoxious to others, and undoubtedly keeps them shy of being the masterpieces that the original trilogy is. Peter Jackson clearly felt he could not justify cutting some of that excess while staying true to the original elements of the book, and that is respectable. While the Hobbit films will not win grand praise or awards for their cinematic elements, they will forever be great film compliments to some of the most important cultural works of our time.

“The Battle of Five Armies” is undoubtedly the better chapter of the trilogy. While it might feel to some like an overextended stay of screen time for some 30 pages of the actual book, its hard to imagine such a defining climax sequence being condensed at the expense of the wonderfully raw entertainment that it turned out to be. One cannot simply dislike “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” ,especially as it brings such proper closure to this Middle Earth saga.

8.9/10