Resident reviewer Gavin Miller runs the rule over the second film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy.
It may not be on par with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but this sequel to the competent but tediously slow The Hobbit puts the series back on track.
That’s due to A) the addition of Evangeline Lilly’s kick-ass elf Tauriel, B) new human hero in the form of Brit Luke Evans’ Bard, and C) a truly massive computer-generated fire-breathing dragon voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Throw in the welcome return of Legolas and this second episode is slicker with more action set-pieces and some dazzling visuals.
Again, it’s not without its wobbles – particularly with some of the narrative and a dragged-out final third – but the continuing story of Mar Bilbo, Gandalf, dwarf leader Thorin and their band of dwarves trying to reclaim their lost kingdom of Eribor, thankfully contains some of that old Tolkien magic.
This is helped by a truly noteworthy barrel escape scene. It feels more confidently pieced together than the first part but it’s still hard to connect with the band of dwarves like you did with the fellowship in the first ‘Rings’ film.
That said, this is still a return to form for Jackson, who does a pretty good job of ridding himself of ‘ring-rust’ to set this up for an epic finale.
The threat of a dragon has finally put the ‘heart’ into The Hobbit.