I have to admit that I was actually impressed with the way the story played out, despite the fact that a combination of intuitive deduction along with knowing the original plot allowed me to make very accurate guesses at the way most of the major parts would go, so that there were really no surprises in store for me. What was delivered in the end was almost comparable to the LOTR, and serves as an adequate prequel, especially considering the way it ended. The overall impact of this film, however, is reduced slightly by the fact that the two films made to cover the rest of the story (+ a ton of added materiel to increase runtime) are, or should be, much more controversial among fans, not least because there are two of them in the first place. But that point has been beaten to death and this post is about the third one.
Things that bothered or were simply unintentionally comical:
- #1 on this list by a mile is the Romeo/Juliet storyline of Kili and Tauriel, and the quick admission that Legolas himself also has feelings and would rather run off with her than obey dad or go home. Although it didn't stand out quite as much as I worried it would, it could still be seen coming from Mirkwood to Erebor (which is about 100 miles by map) and was clearly the real reason Tauriel was inserted, despite Jackson's politically correct nonsense of how Tolkien would have included her if he had thought of it and everything that came with that. Also, my brother and I saw the Tauriel/Kili tag team fight with Bolg coming as soon as DOS was complete, though we differed on whether Tauriel was going to survive, which is another point altogether.
- For the most part the drama was strong and the action came thick and fast like it was supposed to. However, several moments happened which give the impression that Jackson and co. were bored and needed a laugh. The one that trumped all the others for me was the cheesehead troll ramming the wall. Seriously? You had to break in by adding a troll wearing a giant stone block as headgear, which then fell over unconscious? Dain Ironfoot laying out helmeted orcs by headbutting them was actually funny and felt less forced than the other silliness. At the critical moment, Legolas actually does run out of arrows! However, this doesn't change from mini-cliffhanger to comical until he reaches back the second time, as if he's thinking "What, really? You gotta be kidding." Forget gravity! Let's run in midair on falling debris like it's a stairway! :)
- Beorn on screen in the theater is literally a blink and you miss it moment. The writers might as well have figured out how to write him out of the story entirely if they're going to do that. In the book it is Beorn who actually turns the tide of the battle, killing Bolg and most of the orc army single-pawed.
- Legolas and Tauriel ride out to Gundabad with ideas of making a a tag-team ninja assassin raid on the garrison, and then they watch bats fly out and ride back where they came from. btw, Legolas hitching a ride on a bat and then killing it in a ridiculous way? Totally knew that was coming.
- All the gratuitous callback dialogue! It's the same setting, and half the cast were in the other movies. There's really no need to remind people so hard that they are connected by recycling dialogue.
- Last but not least; the previous five movies actually made coherent stories, although the points where sequences were cut to sell the EE and avoid intermissions were sometimes made strange by the omission. Not so for this one. Even to me, a casual moviegoer who does not give a lot of attention to this sort of thing, the jump cuts where scenes were removed to make more money later were blindingly obvious several times. Case in point, the war rams. The Iron Hill dwarves Rohirrim-lite charge we see in the trailer is cut, but the writers put Azog on an unassailable tower. Therefore Thorin and co. need goats. Voila, five goats appear mid-battle, center-action, literally from nowhere. This to me is reminiscent of the oddity of Theoden asking Aragorn to ride out of Helm's Deep with him in one room while on foot and alone, then literally the next minute he's in a different room on horseback with 20 riders behind him. Continuity fail.
- This post is too long now. The good stuff will have to wait.