An improvement from the already epic first installment, this is a great middle film - where I find most middle films fall flat, full of exposition and world building rather than action. The CGI on Smaug is done flawlessly that it doesn't feel generated or cheap and the Woodland Realm is as beautiful as described in the books, with amazing work from Lee Pace. I liked this even better than the first and only hope the third lives up to the expectations.
Stunning visuals and a lot of action. Tom Hiddleston's Loki predictably steals the show but it also features strong performances from Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Rene Russo. The dark elf plot is underdeveloped and many of the heartbreaking scenes are overshadowed by cheap jokes, but is overall a good story with a lot of set up for future Marvel films. This is definitely one for IMAX 3D - and don't forget to stay until after all the credits for a second post-film scene.
Strong visuals can't make up for the phoned-in performances from nearly all the leads. Without having read the book, it's hard to relate or latch on to any of the characters, making it ultimately a waste of time.
An amazing piece of American cinema telling an important piece of American history - in a brutally honest way. Performances from every actor on key that will leave no eye in the house dry. Beautiful and brilliant.