The dwarves awoke Smaug in the last movie, provoking him to wreck havoc over Laketown. 'Battle of the Five Armies' picks up immediately where the previous film ended, with Bard attempting to slay the dragon whilst protecting his family.
An impending war dawns as the elves, humans and Orcs congregate at the gates of the Lonely Mountain. With Thorin ill with dragon sickness, illusioned with power and wealth, it is up to Bilbo to try and fix things before it is too late.
Disproportionally split, a fifth of the movie deals with Smaug and laketown whilst the rest is one long battle scene reminiscent of what was offered during the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The epic scale action was gripping and finally gave the fans what they wanted.
The previous two films were slow and felt like fillers, but the conclusion somewhat made up for this with some ingenious backstory, especially with Legolas, and cameos from Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving, reprising their roles as Galadriel and Elrond respectively, that tie this back to the original films.
As a whole, the series acts as a strong prequel to the LOTR films and undoubtedly cinemas will be running the six film marathon in the future, the only inconsistency being how much older Legolas looks in these movies.
Whilst The Hobbit trilogy was more bore than awe overall, it gave us more of Middle Earth and definitely a delight to immerse yourself back into.
Martin Freeman- Bilbo Baggins
Ian McKellen- Gandalf
Luke Evans- Bard
Richard Armitage- Thorin
Orlando Bloom- Legolas
Lee Pace- Thranduil
Evangeline Lilly- Tauriel
Cate Blanchett- Galadriel
Hugo Weaving- Elrond
Also stars Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch and Christopher Lee.
'The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies' is a strong and action packed conclusion to the trilogy, which offers a good amount of back story and references to tie these to the original trilogy and surely makes watching all six films a delight for hardcore fans.
The intense action and familiar cast certainly makes up for the slow build up of the previous two movies and gave us another slice of Middle Earth that we can treasure for the next couple of years before something else is conjured...