Peter Jackson must be feeling like a sad rain cloud looming over Middle Earth the last few days. The humongous cash cow of wizards, orcs and elves will come to an end with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. You have to give it up to Jackson. He managed to pull six movies out of two books and took home an Oscar for Return of the King.
This time around Jackson leaves it all on the table for his Hobbit franchise finale The Battle of the Five Armies. The film picks up where the monstrous cliffhanger left us last time. We return with Dragon Smaug ready to show Middle Earth what he’s made of. Right off the bat, The Hobbit is in your face with action and never lets up. The bombastic sequence featuring Smaug wreaking havoc on the island sets the action tone for Five Armies.
Peter Jackson throws everything at the audience, whether it’s trolls converted into catapults, a butt kicking Saruman (which I personally loved) and, of course, the Five Armies converging into one final battle that may as well have been Jackson playing with his action figures in his room as a kid. No one can complain that The Battle of the Five Armies is light on the action side. It’s a non stop visual attack of swords and severed Orc heads.
The one complaint I have is the lack of a hero to get behind. Martin Freeman is charming again as little Bilbo, but he’s the moral compass in Five Armies, not the hero. I’ve always found Richard Armitage’s Thorin Oakenshield to be as charismatic as the block of wood he once used to fight of Orcs with. He was always a tough leader to get behind on film and it’s even worse this time in Five Armies with his extra screen presence. Armitage’s lack of connection with the audience is a factor that kept this new trilogy from surpassing the original LOTR films.
Although lacking a quality hero and limiting the most charismatic character, Dragon Smaug, The Battle of the Five Armies is a fitting and entertaining final visit to Middle Earth. The battles are highly entertaining and we get to see most of our favorite LOTR alumni make an appearance before the credits roll. Jackson leaves it all on the screen which is great for fans of this popular franchise.
Overall, I give The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies 3 out of 4 stars.