"This is the way 'The Hobbit' ends: not with a whimper, but with an epic battle royale. True to its subtitle, 'The Battle of the Five Armies' (revised from the initially more pacific 'There and Back Again'), the final installment of Peter Jackson's distended 'Lord of the Rings' prequel offers more barbarians at the gate than you can shake an Elven sword at, each vying for control of mountainous Erebor. The result is at once the trilogy's most engrossing episode, its most expeditious (at a comparatively lean 144 minutes) and also its darkest — both visually and in terms of the forces that stir in the hearts of men, dwarves and orcs alike. Only fans need apply, but judging from past precedent, there are more than enough of them to ensure that 'Battle' walks off with the dragon's share of the upcoming holiday-season box office."
"There are some moments of mawkishness, especially at the finale. We get the sense that Jackson is struggling to drag himself away for the last time from a kingdom to which he has devoted so much of his working life and that he can't quite work out how to make a tidy exit. Nonetheless, for all its loose ends, The Battle Of The Five Armies is the strongest, boldest film in the Hobbit trilogy and provides just the send off that the series deserves."
"In a film with universally strong performances and one that is supposed to focus on the titular Hobbit, the now complete trilogy is dominated by the mesmerising presence of Richard Armitage's Thorin Oakenshield, whose story arc finally sees the heroic leader get his big moments in the spotlight. I really can't say enough good things about Armitage's work here — from the moment he first arrived in Bag End he managed to immediately capture what makes Thorin such a compelling and charismatic leader and his work in The Battle Of The Five Armies is excellent."
"Indeed, this is film-making at its most spectacular, with more wizardry wrought by the visual effects department than even by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen). You don't need to know your elves from your Bilbo to find it thoroughly impressive.
However, it is in parts also decidedly scary. Children may by now have become inured to those terrifying Orcs, but be warned, there is one scene, in which the princess Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) actually appears to be possessed, that really wouldn't be out of place in a horror film."
Not all reviewers were happy with the film, however. Some of the following are downright awful!
"Shortly after the climactic battle scene of this final instalment of Peter Jackson's Hobbit series gets underway, an outsize troll-like monstrosity with a pointed stone headpiece runs full tilt into a fortress wall, making a breach through which a bunch of orcs and other malevolent nasties can pour through. The troll, or whatever it is, lies full length on the ground, stunned; entirely disregarded as its compadres swarm past. Well, I can sympathise entirely; I reeled out of the cinema in bit of a daze myself after this extended dose of Jackson’s patented ye olde Middle Earth cranium-smashing."
"The 144-minute running time showcases Jackson's worst tendencies: eons-long battle scenes, sloppy and abrupt resolutions, portentous romances, off-rhythm comic timing, and, newly in this case, patience-testing fan service."
"What a horrible way to go. Peter Jackson made history with his take on The Lord of the Rings and even the first two instalments of his Hobbit adaptation had their good points. The kiss off, however, is pompous, crude and bitty. And doesn't even have any nice songs."
What do you think of the reviews? Are they swaying your decision to buy tickets? Or are you so ridiculously excited (like we are) that you just want to watch the trailer on repeat between now and next weekend?
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens Dec. 17, 2014.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!