It took a little while and Peter Jackson took his good time in deciding to come back to the director’s chair to direct The Hobbit. Adapting the slim book in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth prequel should have only produced one film, possibly two. No one expected three. I always felt that Jackson was the rightful man to bring audiences back to the lands of Middle-Earth. In the end, he was right to return and end the film trilogy that made him a high profile director and master storyteller.
In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, we pick up with our heroes after they released the dragon, Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) on Lake-town. I won’t spoil if the dragon makes it through the end of the film but he will run into Bard (Luke Evans) while the dwarves reclaim their mountain homeland of Erebor. With news of the dragon leaving the mountain spreading throughout the land, everyone wants a piece of the treasure deep in the mountain. This same treasure begins to drive dwarf leader Thorin (Richard Armitage) into a paranoid, greedy monster who is unable to identify friend from foe. This news brings all the creatures of Middle-Earth – Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and others – to Erebor’s doorstep for a final battle.
A continuing trend in Jackson’s Fantasyland, the final battle does run a little too long. It feels like it overtakes the length of the final battle in The Return of the King but it’s not as epic as The Two Towers’ Battle for Helm’s Deep. I’m not saying that it’s terrible or will bore you because this battle is epic and fought on different fronts for our heroes. I praise Martin Freeman for adding some humor to the otherwise serious finale and lending some humanity to lighten up the darkness that hovers over the characters. He has been the secret weapon behind the blockbuster trilogy, the beating human heart of this powerful warrior machine.
The final scene of the film ties The Hobbit prequel trilogy and The Lord of the Rings films together as Bilbo settles into the Shire after a grand adventure, he can rest knowing that he will be missed as the book is closed on the Middle-Earth Saga.
Well done, Peter Jackson. Well done.