Bryan Espitia 🎄’s review published on Letterboxd:
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually thought the movie was too short. Obviously, it's the shortest of the Middle-Earth films, but still runs at a healthy 144 minutes. And yet I feel it could have and should have gone on a little longer. The pacing was great; it flew by much quicker than the first two. But it did feel like a lot of stuff was cut out or shortened. Hopefully, the inevitable Extended Cut fleshes out the film a little more.
As it is, I enjoyed the hell out of this. It's literally all climax, after we're finished with Smaug and Laketown all we're left with is the titular battle. It's a truly epic battle, although I gotta say the CGI didn't seem very impressive. Maybe it was just the HFR but there were several instances when it got too fake-looking. It makes you miss the more practical effects of LOTR. There's also the problem of Bilbo's screen-time, which is reduced even more this time. Remind me again who the trilogy is named after?
If there's one standout scene (not counting the actual battle), it's the scene in Dol Guldur with the White Council. How awesome was that, and more importantly, how fucking awesome is Lady Galadriel. Jackson also ties up the film rather well, and the ending segues nicely into Fellowship of the Ring. I think this is probably my favorite film in the trilogy, and even though The Hobbit doesn't quite stack up against The Lord of the Rings, I can't imagine ever watching one without the other. And really, who doesn't like spending more time in Middle-Earth?
A big thumbs-up also to Billy Boyd's song, "The Last Goodbye," which plays over the end credits. It's completely fitting.