The Middle-Earth franchise is, without a doubt, the greatest fantasy series of all time. It's almost like my second home in a lot of ways. The Lord of the Rings trilogy has been a part of my life for many many years and they're three of my favourite movies of all time. While The Hobbit films aren't quite on the same level, they're not any less amazing. I actually find this series to be rather brilliant, which is an unpopular opinion. The first film, although short on action, remains one of the best films of 2012, plus the sequel, The Desolation of Smaug, is even better. I was naturally excited to see The Battle of the Five Armies, even if it was a feature length adaptation of a couple of chapters. I've been on board with Peter Jackson's vision of this trilogy ever since it was announced. I've given every Middle Earth film a rather lenient five star rating (although not at all lenient when it comes to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, just The Hobbit). That's why I'm surprised to say that The Battle of the Five Armies was not everything I wanted it to be, although that's not me saying I didn't like the film. I did. Oh, just read on.
While this battle is still not up to standards with the ones from Lord of the Rings, that doesn't make the spectacle any less incredible. It's not just a battle, it's an experience. It's the defying moment in The Hobbit trilogy and it certainly makes a mark. Full of decapitations and creative murders, the prolonged sequence is constantly providing new thrills, turns and shocks. If you've read the book, like I have, then you're just as unaware of what's to come as the rest of us. While the battle in the book only takes up a few chapters, the battle is essentially all this film is, meaning Jackson had all the creative freedom that he wanted to. And he bloody gets it.
And like the previous Hobbit movies, it's the song played during the credits that's the real standout. With the first film we had The Song of the Lonely Mountain, which was good, even with that cheesy title. The second film brought us I See Fire, which was also an absolutely brilliant song, if not better than the first. With The Battle of the Five Armies we have the most tearjerking song ever heard in Middle Earth. The Last Goodbye just may slot in as my favourite original song of 2014. While effective in the credits, it's when I started playing it over and over today that it really hit home. It's a song full of emotion and sadness, but at the same time rejoice and glee.
But on top of Smaug being out of place, Bilbo is apparently out of place as well. He doesn't make a single meaningful input during this entire film, and when he does, it hardly even dents the overall plot. He tries to do things, but he's sidelined until the journey home, which was, to be honest, a surprisingly emotional moment for me. Not because of any one thing in particular, but because it's when the realisation came that there would be no more Middle Earth films to watch.
Flaws and all, The Hobbit trilogy has been quite an experience. It's been a lengthy one, and perhaps it should have stayed as the original two films instead of three, but it's been fun. It didn't end on as big a bang as Jackson hoped, but it didn't end on a low note either. I'm positive that I'll still pick up both the theatrical and extended cuts on blu-ray as I suck at not doing things like that, but also because the journey is over. It'd be a fun experience to see if my opinion on this remains after watching all three back to back. We'll have to see, but for now, I leave you with my only non-5 star rating. Sorry.