Peter Jackson's conclusion to his Hobbit trilogy is basically 144 visually stunning minutes. The Battle of the Five Armies is a single fight, with most of the action happening on one day in one place. It's a decent resolution to the series, but as a standalone, it lacks the character development and depth of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the last part of Jackson's first Middle-earth series.
Battle begins where the last film left off, after Lake-town is destroyed by the dragon, Smaug. Men and Elves gather to confront power-drunk Dwarf king Thorin (Richard Armitage) about gold he owes them. Greater danger looms as the evil Orcs prepare an attack.
Jackson also weaves in some more personal storylines, such as the romance between the Elf Tauriel and Dwarf Kili, Bard's fatherly nature, and, best of all, the deepening bond between Gandalf the wizard and Bilbo the Hobbit, stirringly played by Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman.
After the credits roll, you'll leave the cinema feeling slightly hollow, sad that the magic has, for now, ended. But you'll also have the perfect excuse for a 20-hour Middle-earth movie marathon.