SPOILERS to follow if you have not seen it yet.
Smaug… The stories and songs of his magnificence fall utterly short. And honestly, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug felt like ti could have been longer. But then again, the pace of the move was a lot faster than An Unexpected Journey. Even though there was less plot and character development in this second part of The Hobbit trilogy, the movie was still a fantastic spectacle and in no way disappointed. Most undissapointingly was what we all wanted to see most, a very large, materialistic, and destructive dragon. Smaug’s scale is amazing and it is made even more so on a theater screen. Benedict Cumberbatch does a very good job of adding a menacing voice to this fire drake from the north. Another thing fans of the book craved was a look at the man bear, Beorn. I only wish he could have had more screen time, but his character is not central to the story. Although we will get to see Beorn in the 5 army free for all if they keep following the book.
As with the first part of the trilogy, we are getting to see more of Gandalf was up to when he seemed to abandon Bilbo and the dwarves on their journey. At this point you begin to wonder about Gandalf as he seems to get himself captured yet again, or technically possibly the first time, but this secondary plot to the film adds more backstory to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It also gives the events of the Hobbit more of a Cold War feel as the sides of the light and dark are pushing and manipulating events to their own advantage while not directly coming into conflict.
Some things we learned along the way:
Logoelas was kinda a jerk and a racist.
But that’s because his dad was kinda a jerk and a racist.
Wood elves are the unsophisticated branch of the elven family tree. They like to party and get drunk
Thranduil, King of the Wood Elves and Legolas’ daddy, had one good reason for not coming to the aid of Erebor. He has fought dragons before and it didn’t always go so well. He literally has scars to prove it.
Dwarves on occasion have a thing for Elf women. Gimly falling in love with Galadriel seemed like an anomaly. But apparently there was some Dwarf/Elf jungle love between Fili and Tauriel. Tauriel was attracted to Fili. But then again, Fili is a vampire in a different life. (Look it up if you don’t get the reference.)
Bombor can run pretty fast if properly motivated and can fight even when he is stuck inside of a barrel.
Gandalf might have a habit of getting in over his head and need saving from time to time.
The biggest surprise of the film was what we all thought we knew was going to happen. No SPOILER ALERT needed. Really, you should know by now that Bard of Laketown is gonna kill Smaug. But it doesn’t happen in this movie. We end on not really much of a cliff hanger seeing Smaug on his way to Laketown and Bilbo saying “What have we done?” And scene. Fade to black. So, Smaug’s desolation will end at the beginning of the next film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Presumably we’ll also see how Gandalf gets saved and how Sauron gets defeated again, but not destroyed… again.
So the stage is set and all the players are in place. The orcs are on the move, the Dwarves of Erebor have returned to their home, and the men of Laketown will regain their pride with the defeat of a dragon. Bilbo has gone there and will not go back again until five armies have met on the field of battle.