This review was going to be an objective account of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, but it can’t be. Not when it broke my spirit at roughly the one-hour mark, when Smaug had long been slain and Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), who mostly lived in the background in the first two parts of this travesty/trilogy, became consumed with greed in the most hackneyed way possible. Even Gollum had motivations other than the ecstasy of gold.
The Battle of the 144 Minutes I’ll Never Get Back became the epitome of everything shitty about the 2014 movie year. In no particular order it represents: the uninspired miles of endless sequels of many uninspired franchises; splitting books into multiple parts that have no reason being split into multiple parts (an ongoing problem); despite having a gargantuan running time, having no grasp of character development beyond the screenplay’s creaky demands; the idea that we should welcome this crap because it’s based on books or other media we love; a movie that has the same battle scenes as at least one of its predecessors.
Not even Bilbo (Martin Freeman, a supporting player here) or Billy Connolly, who pops up all too briefly, or Benedict Cumberbatch, can save The Battle for My Sanity.
But you—YOU!—can save movies. Demand that all comic book or fantasy or sci-fi adaptations be as good as Guardians of the Galaxy. Demand reasonable running times. Demand a screenplay that tells its own story and doesn’t lazily live off the goodwill of what came before it. Withhold your dough if the movies don’t get these things right. Star Wars is coming in 2015—do we really want to go through all this tumult again?