Bilbo and his dwarven mates must deal with an array of problems including a humungous dragon voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, too many orcs and Lee Pace as the most fabulous thing I have ever seen.
First of all, this movie is massive. It’s pretty long, and it is full of glorious sweeping shots of huge battles and huge monsters and huge New Zealand landscapes. Crucially though, it never quite loses sight of its characters and the story throughout the hugeness. It is also absolutely stunning, I genuinely gasped at some of the scenes.
A problem that this film does sometimes encounter is that there are now so many characters in the hobbit, some of them almost have cameos in this third part (see Beorn literally being in the film for 2 seconds). And some of the dwarves are barely in it at all either. However the main characters that are featured quite a lot do brilliantly. Martin Freeman is an obvious standout, with Richard Armitage, Lee Pace and Ian McKellen being brilliant as well. But really everybody turns their performance up to 11 for this, and that really is the key, this is essentially all the hobbitty fun you have seen before only this time it’s turned up to 11.
It also manages to, while being essentially a film about a huge battle, not to lose the comic element that was present in the previous two. And this is a genuinely funny movie at times, and I think that without this part of comic relief, all the endless streams of orcs and trolls and other crazy creatures could get to be a bit much, but I don’t think the movie ever dragged. And you know what at the very end I could have happily sat through all three movies back to back all over again.
A point that needs to be made is that, this is not as good at the Return of the King (which was the best Lord of the Rings episode), but that is not to say that this isn’t enjoyable, it really really is. I can’t remember having quite this much fun in a movie recently. And while none of the Hobbit films were quite as good as any of the Lord of the Rings films, I do think that Five Armies is possibly the best of The Hobbit trilogy.
Overall, this is a satisfyingly epic ending to what has been a satisfyingly epic prequel trilogy.