The dragon is slain in the first act but is replaced with an even worse monster: Politics. Elves, men, dwarves and orcs all descend on Lonely Mountain to claim their share (or all) of the treasures therein. Now, all these LOTR prequels are necessarily padded. (Factoid: It takes longer to watch this trilogy than it does to read the slim book.) But as I’ve said of the other two films, it’s great padding.
This one’s darker and weirder, but it’s fun to watch, the hour-long titular smackdown is beautifully choreographed, the characters and emotions are convincing and in all a fitting adieu to Middle Earth. Japanese title: Hobbit: Kesshou no Yukue. (144 min)