The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
In most films, you’re lucky to have one or two characters that, irrelevant of whether they’re good or evil, simply impress. In the final chapter of The Hobbit trilogy – The Battle of Five Armies – nearly every main character has their moment of epic glory. Of ultimate badassery that is undoubtedly worthy of applause and admiration.
First, there’s the ruggedly handsome Bard who takes down the stupendous and tyrannical Smaug by firing a black arrow off his son’s shoulder into the dragon, through a tiny chink in its scaled armour. Impressive? Undeniably so. Not to mention, he then goes on to save the people of Lake Town, implores Thorin to negotiate a peaceful resolution, fights off countless Orcs and protects his family.
Then we’ve got the Elves and it’s not only good looks that are passed down the family tree. Horses are too mainstream for Thranduil who rides a giant elk and at one stage, beheads six Orcs in one swing. He proves he’s more than just a pretty face when the battle begins but is just slightly bested by his son, Legolas.
Orlando Bloom did an incredible job learning his fight sequences because it’s not through brute force or iron weaponry that Legolas wins his battles. He’s lithe, swift, surefooted and deadly with a bow and arrow. It’s almost graceful the way he fights, making Legolas the perfect mix of strength, speed and agility.
And then there’s the leader of the Dwarves, Thorin Oakenshield whose hair is more luxurious than Galadriel herself. There was always a degree of pride within Thorin but his character became unlikeable and just plainly annoying, in this film.
There was an obvious amount of foreshadowing in the first two Hobbit films that reclaiming Erebor and the treasure would drive Thorin to dragon-sickness. Predictably, we see Thorin fall into this downward spiral that ostracizes him from the rest of his Company, become absurdly paranoid and turn on his friends.
Rather than step up to his role as King under the Mountain and stay true to his word, Thorin becomes a greedy, selfish man, throwing what can only be likened to a tantrum. Then he has a strange, hallucination scene, figuratively drowns in a pool of gold and somehow is back to his regular old self.
His transition through the mental struggle seemed rushed and disjointed though, disappearing as quickly as it appeared. Given the length of the film, it could have developed at a more reasonable pace and something more striking and less obvious than hallucinating about drowning in gold, could have been used to bring Thorin back to sanity.
It does pass however and so ensues the badassery of Thorin Oakenshield that we’re accustomed to. He joins the battle, fights his way to Ravenhill and finally battles it out with leader of the Orc army, Azog.
Their fight was impressive but after already having watched about an hour of various battles, was nothing different to what we’ve seen before. There’s only so many times you can watch two weapons clang together, the steel singing out, before it loses impact.
Inevitably, in the culmination of the Hobbit trilogy, characters were going to die. It was infuriating however, that Kili’s death was turned into a sappy romantic cop out. The inclusion of Tauriel in The Desolation of Smaug was justified and it was refreshing to see a strong female character fight with as much strength and gusto as her male counterparts. She held her own quite impressively in The Battle of Five Armies, until Kili died.
She so effortlessly but unjustifiably crumbles into a weeping mess, fulfilling every cliché female character trope about lost love, even though she had a grand total of maybe four conversations with Kili. It’s a huge letdown to see something as sad as the death of arguably one of the most popular dwarves overshadowed by something as trivial and overused as the tragic “star-crossed lovers” angle.
When the movie title tells you there’s going to be five armies involved, it should come as no surprise when three quarters of the movie is men/dwarves/elves/Orcs charging at one another, innocent people running and screaming and battle cry’s. But this film utilises the remaining quarter so well that it manages to keep the audience entertained and engaged for two and a half hours.
There’s humour, friendship, drama and betrayal, all backed by an epic score that make this movie a solid ending to a truly wonderful trilogy. Truth be told, it was worth it just to see the look of pure bliss and relief on Bilbo’s face upon his long awaited return to The Shire.