My issues with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies mirror the same ones I had with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Namely that its not much of a movie on its own, but rather an extended climax sequence to the previous, vastly superior movie. This last overly serious entry in The Hobbit series has had all of the fun sucked out of it, making for an exhausting experience to sit through, and just as it still makes no sense for The Deathly Hallows to have been broken up into two movies, this movie acts as absolute proof that there was no need for this series to be broken up into three.
The movie picks up precisely where the last one left off, opting to use what probably should've been The Desolation of Smaug's climax as a prologue for this movie instead, then proceeding from there as the world goes to war over who can be the greediest group of people. And my numbers are probably off, but this whole thing feels like there's about thirty minutes of set up to two straight hours of action scenes, and man does it get real tiring after a while.
Gone is the fun and whimsy of pretty much every other entry in these Hobbit and Rings flicks, this one is serious business from start to almost finish, before it ends on a real odd note with some misguided comedic nonsense at Bilbo's home in the end that felt so out of place. I seriously would've greatly preferred a more straight forward conclusion, as what we got was hardly what I could describe as anything even remotely satisfying.
But yeah, the humor, other than that odd choice of ending, well, let's just say there where the other Hobbit movies provided for quite a bit of good snark from me, the only opportunity I found here was a single line from Gandalf where he says, "I need a horse!" which I silently responded that they only sell dogs there, to which he, of course, then demanded one large enough to ride on. Yeah, I know that's a grasp, but that was about all the fun I could have with this thing.
Speaking of the actual Hobbit, however, unlike the other two films, he does feel like he plays a bit of a more crucial part throughout the whole thing, rather than just slipping in and out of it so much as with the other movies. But I think that might also have to do with the fact that pretty much every other scene he's not in is mostly just action. And man does the action just go on and on here. Hell, for a lot of the movie, I honestly felt like I was watching someone play the video game version of this flick, as that's how the action came across more often than not with its staging, and lacking any real weight or tension behind its mask of CGI abuse.
And since there is so much action taking over the vast majority of this movie, it leaves little time for much else, which means that character interactions and the like were sacrificed as such. For instance, where as the romance between Tauriel and Kili was probably my favorite aspect of the previous film, here it felt forced, like it didn't really fit in, and I found myself not caring much for it.
And when we start getting some pretty major character deaths near the end, I too found myself not really capable of feeling much for them, as this film on its own does nothing to make me care for them. Sure, perhaps that's what the other two films were for, and perhaps this problem wouldn't exist if you were to watch these movies all at once. But having not watched the other ones in about a year and going into this looking at it as a movie on its own merits, this is a movie that's removed of any form of emotional grounding and ultimately just left me feeling cold.
So yeah, this one really didn't do it for me. This was a pretty lacking conclusion to these Hobbit flicks, and one that really proved that there was absolutely no reason at all for them to be split into three movies. In the end, I still really enjoy The Desolation of Smaug on its own, but for the sake of The Hobbit series as a whole, they really would have been better served just sticking to one or two films, as this is just needlessly excessive.