I can't believe it's over
This is it.
This is the last we see of Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth unless Tolkien's estate gives up rights to the Silmarillion. And since Christopher Tolkien finds the other films "mindless action movies" (?!?!?!?!), that's highly unlikely.
I feel numb.
While I like Battle of Five Armies somewhat less then the two that came before it (and better only than Fellowship in the entire series), it is impressive to me that such a long movie could feel so short to me. I loved Return of the King, but that felt its length. This one not so much. It also brings much-needed detail to the final chapters of the story by not having Bilbo knocked out until late and then still staying with everyone once he is.
From the books, I knew Fili and Kili weren't going to make it (though I had half-hoped they would subvert this). Emotionally, I hated how sudden and useless their deaths were. Symbolically and narratively, I loved how sudden and useless their deaths were.
I loved the final battle between the White Council and the Necromancer, though for all the build-up and the fact that showing this was the main impetus of expanding the story in the first place, I wish it had been a lot longer. Still, seeing Saruman kick spirit butt and seeing the return of Dark!Galadriel was sooooo cool.
Smaug was by far the best part of the last one, and though he only lasted the first ten minutes of this one he made every second worth it.
Billy Connelly as Dain? AWESOME! But...it was clearly a CG character. I read this was because Connely is sick, possibly with something serious. Say it ain't so!
Now seeing Tauriel's entire arc...I suppose ultimately she adds nothing to the overall narrative, and her main purpose is to break up the giant sausagefest that is the original book. However, if you're going to do something like that, THIS is DEFINITELY the way to do it. She felt like she belonged in the world, she was three-dimensional, and had an interesting character arc. She didn't seem to come completely out of nowhere, her presence made sense even if she didn't affect much in the grand scheme.
I would have liked to see a return cameo by Gollum, but otherwise this was a great ending to a great story. I can't wait for the Extended Edition.
P.S. End Credits song sung by Pippin ALL MY FEELS.