Warning: There are some spoilers in this, so proceed at your own risk!
If you’ve read my previous reviews of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, you’ll know that I’ve been pretty ambivalent about this trilogy since the beginning. While I admittedly loved Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings series, I’ve never really been able to wrap my head around his turning J.R.R. Tolkien’s 320-page novel into three individual movies. But once the Mysterious Mr. C and I started watching the films, I knew I was going to have to see it through to the end. So, this past weekend, we headed to the theater one last time for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
While I was actually quite excited to see the film – I was usually the one asking C if he wanted to go see it – I spent most of the movie either anxious or confused. It’s a bit counterintuitive because the anxiety, I think, came from the fact that this was the third and final installment in the series, and I was just waiting for everything to be over. I don’t really know why the rush on my part, but it seems to stem from the fact that, deep down, I felt like seeing these films was something that I had to do.
As for the confusion, that is entirely my fault because I didn’t really prep myself before we went to the theater. While I remembered that The Desolation of Smaug ended with Smaug heading towards Laketown, I couldn’t recall why some of the dwarves were still in the town and others were at the Lonely Mountain. I also didn’t remember Bilbo’s past with Thranduil, so I didn’t get all of the comments during their negotiations over the Arkenstone. And as for the Orcs – Azog and Bolg – was their beef with Thorin Oakenshield about something other than the mountain at first and then they decided to take the treasure for themselves as well, or was that always the motivating factor? (Also, why is it that the Eagles always come in at the end when all seems to be lost? Why don’t they come into play at the beginning and just get the job done!?) Had I been smart, I would have looked all of this up beforehand and I likely would have been able to enjoy the movie a little more.
All that said, there were parts of the film that I liked, though admittedly they came at the end of the movie. As with the beginning of An Unexpected Journey, I loved the way The Battle of the Five Armies tied back into the LOTR series. Having seen those films several times, I caught all of those references and really liked the fact that even though the LOTR movies came first, you could watch these in book order and still have everything hang together. Which is something C and I will likely do at some point because as unsure as I have been about The Hobbit as a trilogy, I am fully aware that they are part of a larger epic and should be ultimately viewed as such.