The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Image
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics What's this?

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7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1534 Ratings

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  • Summary: Thorin and company have reached Lake-town and it is time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragonThorin and company have reached Lake-town and it is time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug. If Bilbo and the others are able to gain the treasure, will they be able to keep it? And will they discover what has become of the wizard Gandalf? Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 44
  2. Negative: 2 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Nick de Semlyen
    Dec 6, 2013
    100
    Middle-earth's got its mojo back. A huge improvement on the previous installment, this takes our adventurers into uncharted territory and delivers spectacle by the ton.
  2. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 12, 2013
    80
    This is a rip-snorting, barrel-riding adventure movie — perfect for all ages, as they say (though it isn’t for very young kids) — loaded with fast-paced fight scenes, great-looking effects and enjoyable and/or scurrilous supporting characters.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Dec 11, 2013
    78
    The Desolation of Smaug is, on the whole, a vast improvement over The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It’s a popcorn movie (in the best sense) disguised as deep-core nerdism.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 6, 2013
    70
    After exhibiting an almost craven fidelity to his source material the first time out, Jackson gets the drama in gear here from the outset with a sense of storytelling that possesses palpable energy and purpose.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 12, 2013
    63
    But, oh, that dragon. I'd endure another slog through Middle-Earth just to spend more time with Smaug.
  6. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Dec 11, 2013
    60
    It’s hard to fight the feeling that The Hobbit simply isn’t an epic story, and the efforts to expand it into one leave it feeling like an anvil crammed into a sock: The sock is taking on some weird shapes, and it’s being stretched awfully thin.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 12, 2013
    25
    Results are all that matter, and the result here is that The Desolation of Smaug fails in almost every way, as a story, as an adventure, as a piece of art direction and as a visual spectacle.

See all 44 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 48 out of 342
  1. Dec 13, 2013
    10
    Enjoyed it thoroughly. Much better than the first one, it's not as action based as the LOTR series but that's not a bad thing. It sets its ownEnjoyed it thoroughly. Much better than the first one, it's not as action based as the LOTR series but that's not a bad thing. It sets its own pace and is more "adventurey". Makes me laugh where needed and was just a ton of fun to go for at launch night. Expand
  2. Jan 6, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. What an amazing movie! Just as good as the first one! In my opinion The Hobbit series is on par with The Lord of the Rings series- they are just quite different, and people need to realize that. I will not say it was an improvement over An Unexpected Journey because I loved the hell out of that movie, but this one's just as good.
    First of all, the acting was brilliant. Martin Freeman again creates a mesmerizing Bilbo- a very believable character (he isn't a master swordsman as soon as he picks up a sword, and he relies on his wits more than his brawn), and his wit and humour really add some heart to the movie. His subtle, slightly humorous reactions to Smaug waking up are great! His funny little mannerisms and facial expressions and hand gestures really give his character a sense of uniqueness among the other hobbits we've seen. Also, his relationship with Thorin is very well handled, although the best of it will be seen in There and Back Again. Speaking of Thorin, Richard Armitage gives a truly magnificent performance. The right balance of determination, arrogance, and charisma. Thorin is a much darker, more complex character than Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, and you can really see his arrogance and greed taking over his being once he reaches Erebor, and just the slightest hint of madness (the scene where he holds Bilbo at sword point), which will come into play more in the third movie.
    In regards to Ian McKellan's Gandalf, we really didn't see much of him, but he was as amazing as ever, and his duel with Sauron was incredible!
    As for the dwarves, it is Ken Stott and Aidan Turner who shine this time, and much to my displeasure James Nesbitt's Bofur falls to the background a bit (but he still has his moments- "Bless my beard, is that the time!"). Stott creates a very memorable Balin, bringing depth, kindness, and heart to his role. Aidan Turner was great as the young, dashing Kili, and his hero moment at the river scene was very well done. Some of the other dwarves fall into the background a bit, but Dwalin, Bofur, Fili, and Gloin all are given some time to shine.
    As for the new characters in this movie, they were all excellent and well integrate into the story. Mikael Persbrandt had a short but memorable role as the Skin-changer Beorn, and his performance was very powerful (and he had a really epic Swedish accent). Lee Pace was excellent as Thranduil, who is a very interesting character. Pace provides regal arrogance and a slight unsettlingness to the character, and his scene with Thorin was very powerful. Orlando Bloom is back as Legolas, and this time he provides more three-dimensional acting, as his personality and personal life are fleshed out more here, and we get to see a meaner side to him as well as a softer side. And his fight with Bolg at the end was badass! Tauriel, as played by Evangeline Lilly, was a very good addition to the story. Her character was even more interesting and in depth than I thought before the movie came out, and she was acted very well by Lilly. The romantic subplot with Kili was very well handled and not over done. She is a very interesting character- curious about dwarves, determined, and sticking up for what is right (which means going against her king). In Lake-town we are introduced to Bard and his family, and Luke Evans did a great job as the "Robin Hood of Middle-earth." His family was a nice touch and makes the audience care more for him and adds depth to his character. We also meet the Master of Lake-town and his conniving servant, Alfrid, played by Stephen Fry and Ryan Gage respectively. Both were very good characters. Stephen Fry was hamming it up as the sleazy master, and he was a joy to watch.
    And now on to Smaug. What can I say besides that he was the best dragon, cgi character, and villain ever to hit the screens! Perfect vocal and motion capture performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, seamless visual effects by WETA, and some great dialogue. The scene with him and Bilbo was one of the best scenes I've seen in a very long time! Freeman and Cumberbatch were great together. His epic fight with the dwarves was great too.
    The writing in this movie was very good. I thought each character was developed enough, and the side subplots, like Gandalf's investigation of Dol Guldor and the Kili/Tauriel sublot, were woven into the story smoothly. Also, the decision to split up the company was one of PJ's best deviations from the book.
    The visual effects, costumes, makeup, and art direction were flawless as usual- no point going into details there. But they were truly top notch. The score was also amazing (I particularly like Tauriel's, Smaug's, Thranduil's, and Lake-town's themes). Howard Shore is a genius.
    Special mention should be made to the Barrel scene. It was awesome- the best action scene of 2013 for sure! Legolas and Tauriel were badass, and Bombur's orc-anihilating barrel run was hilarious and epic at the same time!
    All in all, this movie was perfect!
    Expand
  3. Dec 16, 2013
    9
    Much better than the first and I didn't mind the first. I saw it in high-speed and 3d. Super well done but 2 things, the glasses are smallerMuch better than the first and I didn't mind the first. I saw it in high-speed and 3d. Super well done but 2 things, the glasses are smaller than they used to be so you can see the rims which is distracting (but the crowd seems way cooler when the lights come up) and secondly the high-speed makes the production seem amateurish during the expositive scenes for some reason. So at the bar when they are talking it reminds me of a 80's British soap opera or a Canadian video production like Littlest Hobo. I think it exposes bad acting more. So a raised eyebrow by Gandalf looks kind of silly and deliberate or when Thorin notices bad guys it is super obvious like you can almost hear the director saying "look that way, then that way...". For the most part the action scenes are pretty spectacular, although at times somewhat video-gamey. Expand
  4. Feb 5, 2014
    8
    It was great getting back into the world of the ring.
    But, this time I wasn't so much thrilled as I expected.
    Truthfully, I wanted a better
    It was great getting back into the world of the ring.
    But, this time I wasn't so much thrilled as I expected.
    Truthfully, I wanted a better Bilbo - Dragon confrontation, that meeting should have been as wonderful and arty as the Gollum-Bilbo meeting. Oh well.
    Didn't mind the additions, they had a nice touch, especially the female elf (although the romance angle should just be gone in the third part :P )
    Expand
  5. Jan 26, 2014
    7
    I seem to be in the minority, but I preferred the first Hobbit movie to this installment. Outside of Smaug and the barrel chase scene, nothingI seem to be in the minority, but I preferred the first Hobbit movie to this installment. Outside of Smaug and the barrel chase scene, nothing of significance remains, and the rest of the movie has almost been purged from my memory though I just saw it. The greatest failure of this movie is its unconvincing nature. Even Legolas gives a weak performance. Mostly it didn't feel like Tolkien at all, the magic and wonder of the Lord of the Rings movie....and briefly throughout the first Hobbit...is nearly entirely missing. It is not a bad movie, just a very average one. Expand
  6. Feb 25, 2014
    6
    It was an improvement from the previous installment but continues to lack memorable characters due to a shortfall in character developmentIt was an improvement from the previous installment but continues to lack memorable characters due to a shortfall in character development creating no emotional attachment to any of the dwarfs travelling with Bilbo Baggins. However, the visuals are amazing it is much more action packed compared to the first one giving it a final score of 64.6 out of 100. Expand
  7. Sep 28, 2014
    0
    This film is as good as "Attack of the killer tomatoes". The plot is as near to The Hobbit as Killer Tomatoes is to pizza making; the actionThis film is as good as "Attack of the killer tomatoes". The plot is as near to The Hobbit as Killer Tomatoes is to pizza making; the action scenes are just as laughable (yet higher technical quality). If Jackson had come to Tolkien's tomb and shat inside, it would be less of an insult to his memory.
    As a comic film, it could be good. I really laughed when I saw a hobbit on a metal plate surfing over molten gold. He's made of asbestos!
    Expand

See all 342 User Reviews

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