Metascore
88

Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 75
    A rousing adventure, a skillful marriage of special effects and computer animation, and it contains sequences of breathtaking beauty. It also gives us, in a character named the Gollum, one of the most engaging and convincing CGI creatures I've seen.
  2. 100
    Like its predecessor, The Two Towers is a great motion picture, and not to be missed by anyone who appreciates fantasy adventure.
  3. What it comes down to is superbly staged battle scenes and moral alliances forged in earnest yet purged of the wit and dynamic, bristly ego that define true on-screen personality.
  4. 75
    Spectacular in every sense of the word, even if you don' t know an Orc from a Uruk-Hai.
  5. 60
    This second installment is heavy on battle sequences, which will thrill some viewers more than others.
  6. An outstanding effort that maintains the integrity and purpose that distinguished "The Fellowship of the Ring."
  7. Jackson has a genuine epic gift: Few filmmakers have ever given gross-outs such resplendence.
  8. Most moviegoers will leave buzzing about the climactic Battle of Helm's Deep. But in my eyes, this is Gollum's show more than anyone else's, even the special-effects wizards behind the scenes.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    100
    The miracle is that 'The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is better: tighter, smarter, funnier.
  10. Casts a spell and then some -- a ringing testament to the power of motion pictures.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    Epic battles, spectacular effects and multiple story lines make The Two Towers a most excellent middle chapter in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
  12. 89
    God forbid this should ever play on an IMAX screen -- the concussive soundtrack and relentless visuals would likely strike viewers deaf and blind (but what a way to go!). Simply breathtaking.
  13. 100
    One fabulous Middle-earth show.
  14. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    A glorious, visceral mess -- The film is, by most criteria, an ungainly piece of storytelling. Yet it sweeps you up and hurtles you along like water from an exploded dike.
  15. 88
    For now, The Two Towers feels like the second installment in what next year, when Frodo finally reaches Mount Doom and the story draws to a close, we'll surely be hailing as a masterpiece.
  16. If the second film never reaches the highs of the first -- we have met the players before and there are no new worlds of wonder -- it nonetheless invests moviegoing with a sense of adventure.
  17. 90
    One of cinema's most absorbing fantasies.
  18. 90
    Never has a film so strongly been a product of a director's respect for its source. Mr. Jackson uses all his talents in the service of that reverence, creating a rare perfect mating of filmmaker and material.
  19. Seeing Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is like having a second date with the woman who made you fall in love at first sight.
  20. The Two Towers moves faster, covers more ground, has more action and -- with the introduction of the marvelous character Gollum -- packs some much-appreciated laughs.
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Has a sharper narrative focus and a livelier sense of forward movement than did the more episodic "Fellowship."
  22. 91
    You will be heartened by the amazing sensation of watching one of the greatest works in the history of the medium unfold in front of you, piece by piece, year by year.
  23. Moviegoers should be almost as entranced by the teeming, glorious landscapes and dark, bloody battlegrounds of Two Towers: astonishing midpoint of an epic movie fantasy journey for the ages.
  24. Both a triumph of design and cinematic engineering and, at the same time, long, repetitious and naive.
  25. Jackson's superior sequel to last year's first installment in his Rings cycle - resurrects the beloved Gandalf (majestic Ian McKellen) and rejuvenates the audience, too.
  26. A brilliantly conceived, boldly executed, cumulatively thrilling fantasy epic that expands the art of film and is sure to be the middle link of one of the movies' greatest trilogies.
  27. 100
    The result is harrowing and inspiring. As escapist entertainment, it's the movie of the year.
  28. 100
    What makes Towers so staggering is the way it brings the full scope of Jackson's adaptation into focus. Without missing a beat in three hours, the film shifts from epic to lyrical and back.
  29. 70
    Jackson's movie is one portentous happening after another -- not unreasonable in that his source, J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, is basically the fantasyland equivalent of a world war against absolute evil.
  30. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    Towers, while not quite so varied as Fellowship in its moods and settings, has a grave gusto that energizes every moment...a thrilling work of film craft.
  31. 100
    Gripping, whole and nourishing. Certainly of the fantasy film series currently in American theaters -– I include "Harry Potter and the Secret Toity" and "Star Trek: Halitosis" -– The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the best, and not by just a little.
  32. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    What's remarkable is how immediately, after a full year, The Two Towers seizes your attention, and how urgently it holds you through three seamless, action-packed hours.
  33. 90
    The virtues of Jackson's trilogy, thus far, have been pace and astonishment, which is almost the same thing. [6 January 2003, p. 90]
  34. The sequel's battle scenes -- especially the climactic assault on the Helm's Deep fortress by the armies of darkness -- easily put those of the "Star Wars" series to shame.
  35. 90
    Yes, there are some "middle-chapter" problems, but Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptation hasn't lost its devastating humanity, its heart-stopping cinematography or its epic sweep.
  36. The year's greatest adventure, and Jackson's limited but enthusiastic adaptation has made literature literal without killing its soul.
  37. Reviewed by: Eric Campos
    100
    There’s no question here that moviegoers will be treated to a completely enveloping, three-hour vacation from reality.
  38. Reviewed by: Russel Swensen
    70
    Falters precisely because there's not enough stumbling, and far too much striding gallantly forward.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 1028 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 304
  1. Aug 14, 2010
    10
    When the "worst" movie of a trilogy is an absolute 10, then you sir, have a damn fine trilogy. This is an incredible movie from start to finish, but the one drawback is that it feels like it was continued and needs continuing. The thing is, it's actually worth the ride. Full Review »
  2. Oct 30, 2010
    10
    the best in the trilogy and the awesomeness in the franchise.
  3. Sep 23, 2011
    8
    "The Two Towers" isn't much epic as its powerful prequel, but its still amazes me that Peter Jackson can release such a wonderful movie within a year.