Last week I watched The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Five Armies (2014).
I watched these back to back on a very chilly day here in Minneapolis so they've kind of merged together a little. It is really fun to see that the two movies join together in the middle of the viewing process with Smaug escaping in at the very end of Desolation and the opening of Armies has him attacking the river city. It's a pretty spectacular sequence that changes the stakes of the film series from Smaug to the allure of the treasures under the mountain.
Through much of this viewing I thought "this would make a great LOTR theme park ride." A lot of that is Legolis acting a little too superhuman and magical with the physical things he could do. He must have slowed down and gotten a little older by the main films because there isn't as much gymnastics. I feel that the special effects around him are the thing that take me out of the realism of these films the most.
The Dwarfs could be a little goofier too. Some of them are strange looking, but a number of the main Dwarfs are like rugged Dwarf models. I think it would have been interesting if they were slightly more cartoonishly goofy (not necessarily ugly) and almost look like characters for children then have their action be especially brutish and skull splitting. They needed to be funnier looking and it's a little crazy that in these three long films not many of them have personalities that come out in recognizable ways.
The ending is incredibly long, but that's the name of the final movie. The Battle of the Five Armies. It's a battle, but it gets pretty close to slogging on. It's not as bad of a series of movies as some might remember, but they also do not live up to any part in LOTR.