Who's In It?
Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Martin Freeman, and Ian McKellen
What's It About?
Smaug has been booted from his golden perch, Gandalf was captured by the Necromancer, and 5 armies are on the way to take the mountain for themselves - time for some REAL LotR action!
So, after the children's adventure in the first and the awkward teenage build-up of the second, it's time for the badass adult battles to finally take place, and yes, they're TOTALLY badass.
It's about time The Hobbit series has the feel of a true LotR movie, just watching the massive army of elves that truly looks like practical effects (they might have been actually..) really gives you a taste of what is coming to a head at the Lonely Mountain. This entire movie is basically just the build up of Helms Deep followed by a battle that shames Minas Tirith, and it's absolutely fantastically done in that regard. My favourite army by far was the dwarves - these little nutcases swinging hammers and axes led by Billy Connelly riding a wild boar were absolutely fantastic and Billy himself was actually funny as their leader Dain.
A taste of the Elves
Not only is the Lonely Mountain in trouble, but poor Gandalf has been captured and tortured by The Necromancer - that is - until a couple of old friends (familiar faces actually) mount a rescue mission resulting in one of the best fighting scenes I've ever seen on film. You can feel every hit from sword/staff and it's just completely enhanced by the glorious 48 frames per second, it runs so smooth and connects like all film/TV should now it's 20BLEEDIN14!!
Galadriel is prettty cool..
The star of the film for me acting-wise was Ian McKellen, for the last two movies I haven't gotten the wizard feel from him you got from just the fireworks scene in The Fellowship, but watching him in this now you can see it's the same old Maiar that rode the Durin's Bane (the balrog) into the white robes. Martin Freeman himself has become somewhat of a sleeper hit of an actor to me, after years of only knowing him as Tim from The Office and Arthur Dent he blew me away here - it's not even like he's acting, it's like he's just a being who wants to avoid war at all costs.
If you were waiting for some real LotR battles in this trilogy, you've finally arrived. Watching this instalment made me think back to the other films and how they seemed to steadily get better - and to me that's what let this one down. It wasn't consistent enough in series or single film to reach the heights of the original trilogy, and while it was a big action fest like The Two Towers it just doesn't hold the same feeling. I certainly recommend seeing this for a Lord of the Rings fix, and it can only be enhanced by watching it in 48fps because the fights really are as smooth as silk.