See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Film Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: C+

If you were hoping that the third chapter in this bloated and completely unnecessary trilogy would deliver Smaug the dragon as the epic antagonist the first two films promised, throttle your expectations. His fate is a 20-minute pre-credits “let’s get this over with” rather than a satisfying dramatic payoff. Instead, director Peter Jackson revs up the gears of war so that he can breathlessly pit dwarf against elf against orc against giant bat against eagles in a glorious mosh pit of military skirmishes. Every supporting character has his overwrought day in the sun, and Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) battles the albino orc with one hand for what seems like days.

There’s little doubt that Jackson remains a master myth-builder, constructing a spectacularly rich and entertaining world. But the three films never build momentum — dramatically or emotionally. More unforgivably, they gradually sideline their titular hero, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman). That seems a betrayal of the vision of J.R.R. Tolkien, who deliberately chose to keep The Hobbit a children’s book after the worldwide success of The Lord of the Rings. It seems that quaint notion is no match for studios eager to lighten the wallets of devoted fanboys.

Rated PG-13, running time is 144 minutes.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit