We are a long way from the excitement of having seen how marvelously Peter Jackson translated Tolkien's world into a visual feast. Thorin's character is never convincing. Tauriel serves as an anchor to how good this once was. Even Gandalf, at one point, seems to be portraied in a kind of buddy movie humour strange kind of atmosphere. This is the worse of the three. And a bad way to finish. What a shame.
I'll give it a 3 for the Sauron sub-plot. Cart-jumping? Bat-riding? Ratatoulling a troll? The Hobbit On Ice? Only 2 seconds of Beorn? GIANT FUCKING WORMS? LoTR was a fine trilogy because, even being fantasy, it had limits. The Hobbit had no limits. A Juggernaut troll? It's as if they were trying to come up with the most random thing at a time. It's stupid gimmicks, full of comic relief. It's all uneven and wrecked.
The excessive amount of CGI and Peter Jackson's indulgence in trying to remake his own glories make the "Five Armies" (and the entire trilogy) disappointingly mediocre. It's entertaining and you can go along for the ride, but…
Words cannot express my happiness when I saw that part 3 of The Hobbit was only 144 minutes, and now that it's wrapped up, this vs. LotR makes an interesting case study in blockbuster excess. LotR had an atmosphere of mystery, discovery, and danger. In other words, it felt more like Tolkien. The Hobbit films have less in common with Tolkien than with the digital pop culture machine that, by 2010, Tolkien had spawned.
Whatever sense of filmmaking Jackson had, he completely lost it here. This is a prime example of how placing one scene after another in sequence doesn't necessarily add up to something. If you pair this with the exhaustive images that we've seen for over 15 hours now, you get a wreck of a film, which is what this is.
Points for the incendiary introduction, massive hordes engaged in lengthy battles, and imaginative action sequences. Where this film falls short, though, is how off course it felt - from the source material as well as the new story sewn together by Jackson. It lacks the adventurous charm of the first and second installments, and instead seems to try to emulate the glory of the decade-old LOTR finale.