And so we come to the end. The end of the thirteen year journey that we all started on with the Fellowship of the Ring in 2001. A wondrous and emotional farewell.
I know the book’s been out for over seventy years but for those who haven’t read it, SPOILER WARNING.
The Battle of the Five Armies is the final installment to The Hobbit trilogy which depicts the final part of the 1937 novel. The mountain is won, with word reaching the four corners of Middle-Earth, armies of Elves, Men, Dwarves, Orcs and (eventually) Eagles set sight upon Erebor to bask in it’s riches. The film is exactly what it says on the tin, one massive battle. This in it’s self is both the film’s strength and weakness. Strength as it’s a grand spectacle of a battle filled with large set pieces and fantastic stand offs, weakness as it’s not much more than that. This goes on to the answer the question on everyone’s lips, should The Hobbit have been split in three parts? I would say no. I liked that it included parts that wasn’t in the book, especially when Gandalf was off doing wizard stuff as it nicely linked into the Lord of the Rings. The bits with Legolas was ok but the romance between Kili and Tauriel was weak at best of times and worse in this film. My main gripe with the trilogy aspect comes from this film. It comes in at 144 minutes, very lean for a Middle-Earth film, with the non-book moments feeling very misplaced. The films feels like it should’ve been at the end of the second film (as much as I do love the perfectly put together final sequence of Desolation of Smaug). The part where Sauron makes an appearance was very disappointing. It was very quickly dismissed and badly put together. I think more with Saruman was needed along with the opening sequence with Smaug. If you’re gonna make the third film, at least fill it up enough. In short, I think it should have been two parts like they originally planned. Make the beginning of An Unexpected Journey shorter so you could have some Gandalf side quest from Desolation. Then with the extra room have more of a conflict with Sauron along with the Battle.
Overall it was a very satisfying film. The highlights were Thorin’s duel with Azog and Bilbo’s farwell. Billy Boyd’s song The Last Goodbye is the perfect farewell featured over the closing credits. A very fitting end to not only The Hobbit trilogy, but to the Middle-Earth saga.
Something a little extra. To save time when people will ask me in the future here are the Middle-Earth films ranked. This was bloody difficult. These are just my opinions and are ranked among themselves. They are all wonderful films and will stand throughout time as one of the greatest achievements in cinema.
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
5. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey