Now, on the other hand, if you want to make the argument that many of the scenes involving Legolas and Tauriel are unnecessary, then I might be inclined to lend a more sympathetic ear. I realize he fits in with the timeline, but there’s really no reason for Legolas to be in this story other than Orlando Bloom’s admirers want him in it. To make matters worse, his extreme stunts from the earlier films morph here into full on super-heroics. It’s fan service at its worse.
So, it’s not a perfect movie. And yet, of all of the Hobbit movies, it’s probably the most satisfying. The emotional heft of the film is definitely weightier than its predecessors thanks to its depiction of the crumbling relationship between Bilbo and Thorin. The little hobbit’s grief over his inability to save his friend from slipping into sin is palpable, and his anguish over his necessary betrayal is heartfelt. As in the previous two films, Martin Freeman’s Bilbo isn’t really given as much time as he should be, but when he is onscreen it’s all good. It just goes to show that the entire exercise of adapting The Hobbit into a three part epic has been a mixed bag.
In the end, the Hobbit films in no way match the Lord of the Rings trilogy in terms of scope, complexity or deepness of meaning. But you know what, if we’re being honest, that’s exactly how it is with the books as well. Reading The Hobbit for the first time remains one of my most cherished childhood memories, but the fact is that reading The Lord of the Rings was a much more mature and broadening experience. And that’s pretty much sums up my reaction to these movies. If you want a masterpiece, then by all means revisit The Lord of the Rings movies. But if all you need is an entertaining romp, The Hobbit films should do just fine, thank you.