The first reviews for Sir Peter Jackson's epic Middle-earth finale, The Battle of Five Armies, are in - and they're mixed.
While some have proclaimed the film the best in the Hobbit franchise, others have chastised it for being unnecessary and overly indulgent.
Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper calls it an emotional masterpiece, saying: "The film contains no shortage of wow moments. A swordfight on a crumbling bridge and a face-off on an ice lake are highlights. But best of all is a finale that wraps up the story up in a humorous, quietly-satisfying way.
"If you don't believe in magic, you will after seeing this."
Variety proclaims: "This is the way The Hobbit ends: not with a whimper, but with an epic battle royale. True to its subtitle, The Battle of the Five Armies... offers more barbarians at the gate than you can shake an Elven sword at, each vying for control of mountainous Erebor. The result is at once the trilogy's most engrossing episode, its most expeditious (at a comparatively lean 144 minutes) and also its darkest - both visually and in terms of the forces that stir in the hearts of men, dwarves and orcs alike."
The Telegraph, however, isn't sold on this installment, giving the film a meagre two stars.
"The further and more competently the movie trundles on, the more it begs not to exist, really: hindsight favours a two-part adaptation at most. This isn't to say there aren't bright spots. However it was fudged, 92-year-old Christopher Lee doing Shaolin kung fu with his magic staff is great value. And the last third is rescued by one meaty, entertaining set piece - crumbling citadel, frozen lake, one-on-one duels between orcs and the principal cast. Freeman, and Evangeline Lilly as the not-in-Tolkien elf maiden Tauriel, inject some unforced pathos which puts many of their dewy-eyed co-stars to shame."
Likewise, The Guardian wasn't overly impressed, giving the film a mediocre three stars.
"Shortly after the climactic battle scene of this final instalment of Peter Jackson's Hobbit series gets underway, an outsize troll-like monstrosity with a pointed stone headpiece runs full tilt into a fortress wall, making a breach through which a bunch of orcs and other malevolent nasties can pour through. The troll, or whatever it is, lies full length on the ground, stunned; entirely disregarded as its compadres swarm past. Well, I can sympathise entirely; I reeled out of the cinema in bit of a daze myself after this extended dose of Jackson's patented ye olde Middle Earth cranium-smashing."
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