When allowed quiet in which to breathe, the pair exercise their acting chops to great effect, even though Freeman seemingly has little screen time. These moments cut through all the impressive technical wizardry and baggy subplots to the very heart of the story. For the most part, however, the focus is upon creating a whirlwind of sword swinging and orc-bashing - the ongoing battle involving every race of Middle Earth is a spectacle to behold. Armour-clad dwarves sit astride bristly war-hogs and cliff-hoping battle-rams and a few familiar faces joining together in an Avengers of Middle Earth action-sequence that, whilst visually dazzling, appears to only serve the purpose of linking the plot to The Lord of the Rings. There is, in fact, a great deal of structural similarity to The Return Of The King (2003), not least in a seemly never-ending series of battles and climaxes.
Somehow it seems churlish to attack the film for being too action-packed when it bears the title The Battle Of The Five Armies. One of the most entertaining and touching moments come at the conclusion of the film and for fans this will be warmly received like an open fire in Bag End after a trip to Mount Doom. The six films tot up to nearly twenty hours (by Shire reckoning) and it is impossible not to admire and appreciate the world Jackson has so carefully and lovingly, lifted from Tolkien's tomes. Jackson's efforts have peaked and troughed, but this final chapter will undoubtedly satisfy fans, and kindle a sense of sadness as this hobbit's tale finally draws to a close
Joe Walsh | @JosephDAWalsh