Martin Freeman is a talented actor, perhaps one of the best in his generation, but his role as Bilbo Baggins in this final entry is so secondary that it’s simply ephemeral. The Battle of the Five Armies picked up where it left with Smaug the Dragon attacking the village and Bard the Bowman acting as their saviour. I have to say I enjoyed the scene immensely – Benedict Cumberbatch deserved every penny for filling the voice of Smaug (and of Sauron as well), albeit if they are only five minutes long. Next, the scene moves on to the Dwarves, lead by Thorin Oakenshield, who now have reclaimed Erebor, their homeland. The scene with the dwarves started out exciting but it falls into the darkest hell of them all.
British actor Richard Armitage is a decent actor, but the screenplay by Walsh, Boyens, Jackson and del Toro is one giant snoozefest. The story with Thorin Oakenshield’s moral crisis can be shortened but that didn’t happen. Fortunately, while the dwarves are not as intriguing as in Desolation of Smaug, the Elves on the other hand leave a good impression. Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly returned as Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel, and their sub-plots saved the movie from eternal boredom. The love triangle between Legolas, Tauriel and Kili stood out among the rest, as well as Legolas’ somersault action which is definitely eye-catching. Gandalf the Grey (McKellen) and Galadriel (Blanchett) are underused but they served their purposes.
The titular “Battle” is grandiose in scale with some breathtaking vista in hand, as one can expect from the work of Peter Jackson the director and Andrew Lesnie the cinematographer. Saying that, however, the movie’s duration (while shorter than its predecessor) is mind-numbing with no clear intention. At the end, The Battle of the Five Armies is nothing more than an average movie, which is a shame considering how much hard work and time were invested. Take a hint Hollywood (and Peter Jackson): No more trilogies if they are not necessary!