Although I like The Lord of the Rings series I cant says I was one of the fans that compared it to the book. To me it was just a good movie with some amazing action pieces telling the story of some interesting characters. Although sometimes these characters came across in some weird ways – Frodo and Sam clearly made a Brokeback Mountain tape afterwards.
The Hobbit attempts to reach the same feat as the same trilogy by having the same grand scale action sequences, again a group of characters on a quest and finally a ridiculously long runtime. The first problem is, whereas Lord of the Rings had actual content to fill that long runtime, The Hobbit fills it with random dialogue and extended battle sequences. Really, this film should have been crammed into two parts at the most.
Battle of the Five Armies is still a good film though, it opens where the previous Hobbit left off (it would have been nice to have a recap) with Smaug heading to the Esgaroth to burn it all down. One of the most important scenes in the book is over before the title sequence rolls, essentially to make way for the larger battle scenes later on.
Once Smaug is dead the elves, the orcs and the dwarves all start to make their way to the mountain, some to reclaim it as their home, others for the treasures inside while others for the strategic point it holds. The humans also want a piece of what they are owed by Thorin who has decided to keep all the gold.
Queue epic battle sequences between all as they try to get into the mountain. What is odd though, during the entire fight sequences the main characters get a fight boost which renders all the enemies into idiots who just can’t seem to work together to defeat them, but this happens in all films pretty much.
During the fight we see a small amount of character development from Thorin as he goes from crazy delusional king under the mountain to true dwarf leader – all the other characters pretty much just flap about fighting with limited dialogue and development.
Overall Battle of the Five Armies is a good end to the trilogy, but it could have been much better if they decided not to stretch it out into a massively long trilogy. We would have had a more concise plot with none of the filler thus leading to better characters and a better flow to the movie.