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.