Edgar Cochran’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is what happens when you stretch the material of a novel into your egomaniac obsession of constructing trilogies for the sole purpose of cashing in and displaying massive amounts of CGI, which look less effective than the original technical effects used in the LOTR trilogy in some aspects of sceneries and makeup. Normally, towards the ending of the adaptation process, you end up making the second film as a build-up of things to come, and the last part as the confrontation. Making this is a dangerous move, but in this case, the result was palpably mediocre. The balance between character development and confrontational conflict is virtually non-existent, thus rendering the dramatic subplots and the filler sequences as a desperate attempt of cinematic-length prolongation, like squeezing a lemon to its maximum capacity, for then squeezing it again even if nothing will come out.
Everything that could be obtained from the application of this Middle Earth/fantasy/epic dramatic formula with a perfect balance between drama, humor, pacing, visuals, personifications and music with horror-oriented elements had already been used to its fullest capacity, so we ended up having an orgy of battles that, given the lack of emotional investment by audiences, seemed even exploitative.
- Five armies reunited indeed, but I couldn't care less about who won.
- An entire town was raided by Orcs, but I couldn't care less about the town. Actually, the invasion seemed comical. Is Peter Jackson laughing at the horrific circumstances of Middle Earth survival?
- Smaug is a waste of time.
- Character development was non-existent with a couple of exceptions.
- Legolas looks older even if this precedes the original trilogy.
- I wanted to laugh at the time the Eagles shown. They stopped being a powerful presence of Middle Earth goodness. Now, they are a meme.
- The Eye appears and gets its ass kicked East by Galadriel. And that's it. The Eye became a mockery here too.
- The movie pretends us to feel compassion and nostalgia for characters that weren't handled a single line of dialogue because, seemingly, they had their share in the previous films. The original group of dwarves that accompanied Bilbo in his quest are now cardboard caricatures that, by the time the film grants them the honor of being shot towards the ending, you go: "Right! I stopped remembering they exist!"
- I also remember vaguely that Tremors (1990) had a cameo, but I have forgotten about its significance now. Was that the 5th Army?I think Kevin Bacon gets eaten at some point in this film, but I'm not sure.