It's an improvement on "Two Towers" in the sense that the awkward comedy has been left behind. But when I watch this movie, I can't help but feel like the last 20-30 minutes are a perfunctory series of "Well, we've got to have this scene and this scene, etc." It gets from Point A to Point B and so on, but not in a manner I find particularly inspiring. Still, the trilogy was a monumental achievement.
They're classics, but I still sometimes find the first two films tonally inconsistent, repetitive, overlong and overstuffed with exposition. This one has grown on me in its own right. The overabundance of endings aside, the action is swift and succinct; Gondor's socio-political turmoil is one of the series' best subplots. It gives McKellen a lot to do. He really shines here as a wise, vigilant, pragmatic hero.
Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Just a perfect movie for a perfect trilogy. Its the best of the three even though in my mind they are really one film and should be seen back to back. I couldn't ask for more in a film. Just incredible.
The weakest entry in the series but still an enjoyable conclusion thanks to its affection for the characters. Nearly all of the battling and military strategy bore me, but I somehow still find myself on board with the intimacy between Sam and Frodo, or even the talk of heroism with Merry and Pippin. It can feel totally silly in some sequences (especially those with dropped sound) but oddly effective in others.