Battle of the Five Armies is an exhausting spectacle that’s really just a derivative of the Lord of the Rings franchise, but it is an epic, grim and entertaining farewell nonetheless.

Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town. Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor tohoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance. (c) Warner Bros

The long overdue conclusion finally arrives with a grand battle royale of middle earth’s races that won’t disappoint the thrill seeking orc bashing audience.

The battle scenes are technically awe-inspiring. The special effects, scale and fight choreography is a good enough reason to watch this in the cinema. But what really makes the adapted world of Tolkien distinct from every other fantasy movie that tried to copy it are the little details – from the movements of different races to the ugly elaborations of the orcs.

While the movie benefits from Jackson’s direction, it is also its flaw. Battle of the Five Armies suffers from overlong battles and a bloated plot to justify a trilogy that should have been done in two parts.

The dangling plot lines are imitations of what we’ve already seen before. The return of a king, the forbidden interracial love, and the psychological tug of war with greed. Old characters return for fan service, but their cameo is irrelevant to what’s happening in the battlefield.

The writers decided to insert female energy into the film, but Turiel’s existence revolves around a love triangle, which seems more like an excuse to bring in Legolas to display acrobatic feats of elfin agility and balance.

When the film focuses on Bilbo as he tries to stop a pride fueled war, we finally see some Tolkien inspired writing. But this is soon set aside for an epic showdown that sidelines its lead character.

Battle of the Five Armies ends fittingly at the shire, but only to say that hey! this is a prequel remember?

Jackson is too busy trying to tie the Hobbit with the LOTR franchise that he forgot to listen to Tolkien’s voice. Nonetheless, the final installment delivers what it promised.

My Rating: 7/10

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