The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (♦♦♦♦)
The Dwarves have finally conquered Lonely Mountain, but now the survivors of Lake Town, and the Woodland Elves, have come to cash in on Thorin's promises. War is imminent as Thorin seems possessed by his treasure. He refuses to share his birthright. As armies of Dwarves, Men, and Elves prepare for battle, Orcs, commanded by Azog the Defiler on behalf of Sauron, march in by surprise, and all the inhabitants of Middle-Earth come face to face in an epic battle of good versus evil.
I rated The Desolation of Smaug three and half stars, but The Battle of the Five Armies was a solid four. Its pace was dynamic. Not only there was never a lull in the action, but there were several subplots to follow along. The movie had a bittersweet ending on several fronts: a relative peace was won; the Dwarves got their revenge, and Bilbo Baggins returned to the Shire. The adventure ending as it began.
The signature elements of this trilogy—epic world building, stellar special effects, photography, cinematography, musical score, and great acting—were present in this installment as well. There was also a masterful command of lighting to convey the nature of good and evil. That technique is typically used by the Studios Disney to great effect, but not so much in other productions. In The Hobbit trilogy it was used to maximum advantage; even Gandalf seemed to commandeer light to his benefit.