Remember when Peter Jackson announced he was splitting J.R.R. Tolkien’s slim volume The Hobbit into three movies? Even with Jackson’s OCD attention to detail, that seemed too much — and the entire internet worried that it would be all bloat and no heart. Well, the internet was right, at least about the third movie.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has none of the character-building moments, nor the sense of grim forboding, that made The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug the best of this trilogy. Like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it’s incredibly uneven, often pointless, and full of fight scenes that lack any sense of gravitas because they are so emotionally decontextualized. Ultimately the problem here isn’t the acting or directing. It’s quite simply one of the most clearcut cases I’ve ever seen of a trilogy that failed because it should have been a single movie.
Personally, I’m holding out for a fan-edit that pares the whole thing down to the single movie it should have been from the beginning.