Critic Reviews

66

Metascore

Based on 44 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
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.
90
Smaug is different: a really good movie, superior to the first in that it brings its characters to rambunctious life.
88
The thematic elements are in place, the emotional tension is highly strung, and the action unfolds in a wave like the fire erupting from the dragon's mouth, overtaking all in its path.
80
The Desolation of Smaug is a cheerfully entertaining and exhilarating adventure tale, a supercharged Saturday morning picture: it's mysterious and strange and yet Jackson also effortlessly conjures up that genial quality that distinguishes The Hobbit from the more solemn Rings stories.
80
Despite suffering from middle-act wobbles, The Desolation Of Smaug nevertheless delivers rousing action, incredible visuals and one stupendous dragon.
80
Sure, all the studios offer anymore are big, dumb adventure spectacles, but that's not a knock against the achievement of this one, which at least parades wonders before us, not the least being the greatest dragon in the history of movies.
80
By the time the beast spreads his wings to full span, soaring skyward toward a vaguely Spielbergian moon, you're in the kind of breathless awe that so few current cinematic superproductions are able to provide.
75
Look for Jackson's cameo in the opening, which sets the tone. Call it another visual triumph for New Zealand's vision of Middle Earth.
75
Even though “Smaug” moves at a faster pace than the first part of the journey, it feels overlong. I still feel this whole Hobbit tale could have been told in one great, three-hour movie.
75
Second verse, same as the first, a little bit shorter and a little less worse.
75
At its best, Hobbit 2, which carries the subtitle The Desolation of Smaug, invites comparisons to Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" threesome.
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.
70
This robust, action-packed adventure benefits from a headier sense of forward momentum and a steady stream of 3D-enhanced thrills.
70
My advice to "Hobbit" fans is not only to see this one, but to see it as I did, in 3-D projected at the normal rate of 24 frames per second. The film will also be shown in what's called High Frame Rate 3-D, at 48 frames a second, but that made the last installment look more like video than a regular movie. Smaug is scary enough without a turbo boost.
63
There are things to like about the second Hobbit film - the director's vision of Middle Earth is as beguiling as ever - but the bloating that was a problem with An Unexpected Journey is an even bigger issue here.
63
But, oh, that dragon. I'd endure another slog through Middle-Earth just to spend more time with Smaug.
63
Not only eight minutes shorter than its forebear, it's at least eight minutes better - less twee, less chatty, more action, more Elvish.
60
It's merely somewhat better than last year's meandering dud - a slight improvement on a movie that should have been pretty easy to improve upon.
60
The cast, including Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly as warrior elves, is also excellent (though we don't get even a glimpse of Andy Serkis' Gollum). And individually, each escapade does hold its own thrills.
55
This all essentially serves to distract from the fact that all that really happens in the film is that the company manages to eventually reach the mountain.
50
The Peter Jackson-directed Hobbit sequel might be the more vigorous, action-packed, darker and more (superficially) engaging version of the series thus far, but that doesn't actually mean it's a keeper of any sort.
50
A once-precious franchise's weakest installment, which forgets these adventures' magic was never conjured by bells and whistles.
50
When it's not stalled on silly, it falls into slog territory.
38
There are probably enough moments to satisfy hard-core fans, but for the rest of us, this amounts to a “Star Wars: Episode II - The Revenge of the Sith'' for the 21st century, a space-holding, empty-headed epic filled with characters and places (digital and otherwise) that are hard to keep straight, much less care about.
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.

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