The Battle Of The Five Armies stands as the grand finale but it is in fact the imploding of the trilogy. Now the unfortunate part is it starts strong with what should have been the finale of the previous film in a thrilling yet emotionally captivating scene of Bard versus the Dragon Smaug. This is a successful pay off of the wise decision to expand on the character of Bard, who is nothing in the novel. Unfortunately the film gets painted into a corner by the novel itself, which is really doesn't end well. It's messy and the only way to have pulled it off would have to swollen the medicine and just have the battle skipped over like in the book. It's a let down to be sure, but the battle is flawed to begin with since our main hero is barely involved and the battle itself is too poorly realized. The third act of the novel is a mess, in that it only works if it stayed as lighthearted as the book is. That's not the case though so the film forces to realize the whole battle which takes up the whole film. It's odd how thin it all is as it stretches out about a page of writing to more than an hour of screen time. All of the expansions come crashing down for the most part, as there is no vision to unite them properly within the battle. It becomes just a mess as the characters are too frequently lost amidst it all. It still has the occasionally strong moments, Thorin in the last act of the film, but even that is diminished by the consistently poor choices made throughout. The most egregious being the focus on an unfunny comic relief whose payoff was eliminated through editing. All the flaws of the trilogy are most easily seen here, which makes for a truly unsatisfying conclusion.