Full disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings is my favorite trilogy of all time and I love The Hobbit novel. In my younger years, I spent a full month attempting to learn Tolkien’s elvish language in order to be able to communicate with no one. So going into Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy I had high expectations, but I also had an insane level of excitement. I saw the movies in IMAX HFR 3D. And while the first two were definitely enjoyable experiences, they pale in comparison to The Battle of the Five Armies.
Considering nearly the entire movie had me on the edge of my seat, I’m going to completely bypass any plot details here. Either everything is 70-year-old spoilers that you already know or it’s going to surprise you when you’re watching the movie. Either way, you don’t need me to tell you what happens.
It may be a bold statement, but Five Armies is the only one of the three Hobbit movies that I felt was anywhere near the level of The Lord of the Rings. I’m not saying it’s on the same level by any means, just that it induced the same excitement that the battles in Two Towers and Return of the King did. Seeing the scores of orcs, elves, and dwarfs preparing for battle gave me goosebumps in a way that I hadn’t experienced since Helm’s Deep.
I’m baffled by the fact that people complain about things being added to the movie that weren’t in the book, just as I’m baffled when people have complaints about things being removed from the book. If you wanted the exact story that’s in the book, you should have read the book. Now, I completely understand taking issue with something being added to a movie that detracts from or changes the story (see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2), but to complain purely because of additions is silly. The way I see it, if I really like something, and I can get more of it, that’s all the better for me.
Sure, the Battle of Five Armies is essentially non-existent in The Hobbit novel, but doesn’t that just make it all the more remarkable that Jackson turned it into a captivating, exciting two and a half hours? The fight scenes are phenomenal, and they do take up the majority of the runtime, but there’s still plenty more to be had. There’s emotion, there’s optimism, and there’s a forcibly-induced nostalgia for the original trilogy. And that’s exactly what I was looking for when I went to the theater.