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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the final entry in the legendary Middle Earth saga, or at least for the time being. Seeing my second most favorite franchise finally come to an end is saddening, and with a film with so much riding on it, does it disappoint?

As for the plot, by now, you all know the story, and if not, you really need to go watch the first two Hobbit films after watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Due to several factors, including the vast changes to the source material, being split into three movies, and An Unexpected Journey not being the same as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit films have received a lot of undue negativity. The first film certainly had its problems, but the Desolation of Smaug was an exceptional fantasy adventure that not enough people give credit to, especially how the Extended Edition improved upon an already strong film. Honestly, aside from those who are angry about the source material changes, I do not understand why so many people dislike the films, and this is especially true for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. In fact, it reminded me of critically acclaimed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in that it is the epic climax to an epic saga. However, it differs in how it raises the stakes, and, despite being a prequel actually had unexpected twists (if you did not read the book). Both are great movies, but the biggest difference is that almost everyone loves Deathly Hallows yet Battle of the Five Armies received a generally mixed to negative reception.

Having not read the novel, please remember that this is a review for the film as a cinematic experience, not an adaptation. 

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Genre: Fantasy, Action, Epic,
Release Date: 17 December 2014
Running Time: 144 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Thorin's descent into madness, Most impressive battle sequences since the LOTR, Bilbo and Thorin's friendship, Shockingly emotional moments, Rarely noticeable CGI, Romance almost kinda works, Suspenseful and intense action, Strong performances across the board, 

The Bad: Alfrid receives a bit too much screentime, 

Plot: 9.7/10- Having already been set in motion by the previous film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies fulfils on the epic conclusion that we all deserved and expected. The film's themes of the corruption by power and greed provide continue throughout, which is portrayed by the struggles of the characters.
Battle of the Five Armies’ pacing is perfect. The film never dragged, and there were enough plot developments during and between the action sequences to prevent the film from being pure spectacle. The only minor issue with the plot is that the film could have used at least ten more minutes to wrap everything with a little more finesse. However, what we got was satisfying enough to leave me fulfill leaving the theater. 

Characterization: 10/10- Thorin's descent into madness provides compelling conflict to drive the plot forward, and his character arc is one of the best and most compelling aspects of the film. Bilbo is such a likable character, and he receives many opportunities to shine throughout the film with a character arc that is well executed and satisfying. Bilbo’s friendship with Thorin is another highlight of the film because it makes you even more invested in the plot and characters of the film. 
For me at least, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has the hardest hitting emotional moments that I have seen in a movie live-action film in a very long time. Throughout the film I was shocked by how much I cared for these characters, and it makes the action sequences all the more suspenseful and intense.

Gandalf is not featured in the film as much as the previous two, but his absence is not much of a negative to the film, although Bard the Bowman receives more screentime than expected, which turned out great.
Everyone’s most talked about part of the movie is the romance between Kili and Tauriel that was set up in the previous film, and the payoff is surprisingly effective. It is not necessary, but it works, and I am fine with it being in the movie.
As before, aside from Kili, Balin, and Dwalin, the rest of the dwarves are almost one big character without much individuality. Considering their lack of involvement in the previous films, this is not a detriment to the film by any mean.
My only issue with the characterization, and one of my only issue with the film in general, is that Alfrid, the Master of Laketown's advisor, receives far too much screentime than his character deserves, and some of his scenes somewhat clash with the more serious nature of the battle sequences. 

Action: 10/10- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ action sequences features the best large scale battles since the LOTR. Almost every scene is filmed with skill, and despite the abundance of nearly nonstop action, it never becomes stale or redundant. Also, we finally get to see three of Middle Earth's resident bad*sses do battle, with a certain wizard's scenes being the most impressive of the trio.   

Acting: 9.9/10- Martin Freeman and Richard Armatage are the standouts among the expansive cast, and their performances are a large part of the reason why the characters’ drama is so compelling. Ian McKellon, Luke Evens, and the rest of the supporting cast all give top notch performances, which is expected from a Middle Earth film.

Special effects: 10/10- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ special effects are a vast improvement over the previous two films. Many times, you cannot even tell whether what you are seeing is computer generated or real sets and people in makeup. Of course, certain scenes are obviously CGI, but it blends well with the rest of the film. 
After reading other opinions, it seems that others felt that the effects and CGI blatant, and maybe watching the film in 48fps and 3D made the effects less noticeable, because I am very critical when it comes to anything animated and the film is near the top of my list of best CGI ever put to film. If you did not see it in 48fps, maybe that is why your experience was different, so be sure to check back tomorrow for my discuss about the high-frame-rate version.

Soundtrack: 9.7/10- Howard Shore's score is not as noticeable as his previous work in the franchise; however, it is still fittingly epic and makes the battle sequences more exciting. 

Humor: N/A- Aside from one scene with Alfrid, the film is nearly humorless, and the lack of humor works out for the best.

Entertainment Value: 10/10- As a Middle Earth fanatic, the film is pure entertainment for me. Not even for a second did the film lose my attention.

Overall: 9.9/10- Even with two incredibly inconsequential flaws, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is an emotional and thrilling ride that more than satisfies as, presumably, the final entry in the Middle Earth saga making it the strongest entry in the trilogy.

Closing comments: Even though I have liked other films more than most fellow critics, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Thor, I know and admit that there are a few notable flaws in said films. However, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' flaws are so minor that I do not understand in the slightest why anyone, aside from those predisposed to dislike the film, would find it anything less than a high quality film. 

Recommended for: Anyone that watched the previous films, 

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Gimpronized Zee

Gimpronized Zee

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