Why not just add a sixth?
I’ve given Peter Jackson a hard time on the two previous overwrought Hobbit movies, but somehow I feel shortchanged on our grand finale in Middle Earth. The Battle of the Five Armies (a suitably long title) embellished the least on the epic trilogy’s single source material, which by all means should have been a good thing. But with an entire movie to fill and only about one chapter of the book left to cover, all that was left to do was strip down the gooey sentimentality that made the previous two movies cheesy but memorable, and instead inject empty-calorie action scenes that try so hard to be “cool” they should have come wearing a spiky leather jacket.
The film picks up with the dragon Smaug (transcendently voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) terrorizing a nearby town after someone certain provoked him in the previous movie. Bilbo the Hobbit (Martin Freeman) and his mostly silent group of dwarf friends watch uselessly from the mountain, admiring Smaug’s truly impressive CGI. “Wait, there’s more movie?” Bilbo mumbles, flicking through the screenplay while Cumberbatch’s voice once again is a highlight of the film, even if he is (dare I say) underused.