The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Originally released on December 4th 2014

“Will you have peace or will you have war?”

“I will have war.”

Bard the Bowman & Thorin Oakenshield

As we recall from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) was on his way to Laketown to wreak havoc and do what most evil dragons do; burn buildings to the ground and kill people. Smaug is a practically invincible monster who enjoys causing chaos, but we come to find out that there is a literal chink in his armor; a spot where Bard’s ancestor managed to hit him all those years ago. Bard does his family name justice by landing the critical hit, slaying the beast and saving the people of Laketown. There isn’t much left to save, mind you. So the people follow him on a trek to Dale, seeking out Thorin’s company at Erebor so that they may receive a portion of the gold to help them rebuild their home.

Elsewhere, Gandalf (Ian McKellan)is still captured at Dol Guldur and for a moment it seems as though he is going to die. But the calvary arrive in the form of Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), and Saruman (Christopher Lee), who free Gandalf and send him to safety with Radagast (Silvester McCoy). Galadriel does something here, that quite frankly, took me off guard. When seemingly cornered by a formless Sauron (also Benedict Cumberbatch), Galadriel’s entire figure morphs from the pristine white lady we saw her as, to a ghastly ghoul looking female who has the power to banish him to the East. I don’t understand how she was able to do it, but it made sense since everyone treated her as the most powerful being. We definitely see that she is powerful when with one move of her hand, the Ork practically disintegrates.

Back at Erebor, Thorin has lost his wits. He has been overtaken by ‘dragon’s sickness’, an ailment of the mind that drove his grandfather crazy with greed. He is obsessed with finding the Arkenstone, while the rest of his company are watching him with increasing concern, noting that he wasn’t the same. To make matters worse, Thranduil, the king of the woodland elves (Lee Pace) has come with an army to take back what was his; a necklace of white gems that Thorin’s grandfather refused him. Rather than agreeing to give the laketown people a portion of his gold, and return the gems to Thranduil, Thorin is ready to go to war over his gold. At the time, it is just him and his company against seemingly hundreds. This is about the time that Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) sneaks away with the Arkenstone in order to give it to Thranduil and Bard, hoping they can use it to get Thorin to concede. It doesn’t work, especially when Thorin’s cousin Dáin (Billy Connolly) shows up with an army of dwarves. If you’re keeping count, there is now three armies; dwarves, elves, man.

Suddenly there’s a huge battle between dwarves and elves, one that Thorin’s company does not take part in. Suddenly, there are wereworms coming out of the earth that reminded me of the demogorgons in Stranger Things and they are leading the way for Azog’s Orks. Elves and dwarves join forces and the battle wages on, with Thorin’s company still in the safety of the castle. He is refusing to take part in the war, much preferring to keep his gold safe. Four armies are now fighting; elves, dwarves and man fighting against the Orks. This entire war takes up a huge chunk of the movie, and yet it was never boring. The fight sequences and camera work helped keep me at the edge of my seat. There’s a particular scene where Thorin hears the echoes of what people have been saying to him and he seems to defeat the ‘dragon’s sickness’ and goes to the rest of his company and asks them to follow him one last time. I didn’t enjoy this foreshadowing.

The dwarves led by Dáin were ready to fall back and surrender, but they end up rallying when the thirteen come running out and the fighting commences once more. Later, Thorin rides towards Ravenhill with Dwalin, Fíli, and Kíli to kill Azog (Manu Bennett) because as Gandalf explains, they are cutting off the head of the snake. By this point, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) have arrived to warn about what they saw; Bolg’s Ork army who are coming from the North. With all five armies present, Azog kills Fíli, as Bilbo, Thorin and the others are forced to watch. His dead body falls in front of Kíli, who then rushes to fight the Orks. Tauriel, seeing Kíli fighting goes to help, but is cornered by Orks, which she dispatches quickly but ends up wounded and unable to fight. Kíli comes to help her and he is killed by an Ork, with Tauriel forced to watch.

“If this is love, I do not want it. Take it away, please. Why does it hurt so much?”

“Because it was real.”

Tauriel to Thranduil

Azog and Thorin engage in a fight to the death, where they both ultimately lose their lives. Bilbo goes to Thorin in his final moments, and the fallen king is able to apologize for his behavior, going as far as to apologize for bringing Bilbo to such peril. Bilbo replies by saying that he was thankful for it, that it was more than any Baggins deserved.

“If more people valued home above gold, this world would be a merrier place.”

Thorin Oakenshield to Bilbo Baggins before passing away

The movie ends with Bilbo returning to the Shire with Gandalf, who informs him that he knows about the magic ring. Bilbo claims to have lost it and goes home, only to find out that he was presumed dead and his possessions were being sold at an auction. Sixty years later, he is shown at his home where Gandalf comes to visit. A parallel to the beginning scenes of the first movie where Gandalf came to his home.

Final Thoughts

If you couldn’t tell before, this was my favorite of the trilogy. It was an epic finale to the prequels, and I believe it set the stage well for the following films. I can’t think of many films that I would have been able to sit through almost two hours of constant war, but with this one, the cinematography and dialogue made it all worth it. Not to mention the heart-wrenching scenes of characters having to watch their loved ones die. It’s a true experience that I recommend to anyone who has never seen the movies. I’ve seen a lot of movies, even just in this month but I can’t remember the last film that had me crying on and off like this one did. I really can’t say enough for how much I loved this one. I have come to really love these characters and their connections to each other, notably between Bilbo and Thorin who began with the king allowing the hobbit to join his company out of necessity. To watch their friendship grow until Thorin passes away, was really fulfilling and then ultimately heartbreaking.

When Bilbo joined the company, he was not expecting to walk away with new friends and companions he would trust with his life. He also probably wasn’t expecting to care so much when lives are lost.

What did you guys think of the Hobbit movies? Did you watch them after the sequels or like me, did you start with the prequels? Let me know in the comments below.

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