The first film from The Hobbit was fun, and the second one was pretty cool as well. But The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is tedious and one film too much.
Five Armies begins where the last film of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug left off. The Dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch) (spoiler alert!) destroys Laketown in retaliation against the dwarves. Smaug destroying Laketown is the most exciting start of any movie since Saving Private Ryan, only to be killed by Bard the Bowman within 15 minutes of the film’s beginning.
Meanwhile back under the mountain, the dwarves reclaimed their treasure and Thorin Oakenshield who is now king, descends into the dragon sickness and becomes obsessed with the gold, while paranoid of being betrayed by Elves and Men who are now slowly amassing an army in front of the mountain gates.
Although the battle in Tolkien’s books was only about a chapter, this version seems to take about a third of the film. Peter Jackson’s story changes such as Legolas who isn’t even mentioned in The Hobbit, and the made up female elf Tauriel’s love connection with one of the dwarves, are tolerable additions, but do drag the story to an unnecessary length.
There are limited scenes of Bilbo and Gandalf, who are the center of the story, and that somewhat disappoints this final installment.