** What I found interesting was that this was the only film in Peter Jackson's Middle-earth films that didn't have a flashback prologue. I kind of half-expected there to be some kind of prologue to kind of give some further insight to what may be happening, if not plot-wise than definitely character-wise, but I figure it's because these films were originally meant to be two instead of three, and also it would've been difficult to do that with where the second film left off. It wouldn't have flowed as easily. If there were, though, I would have wanted it to have been more focused on Fili and Kili, maybe when they were getting ready to go on the quest and hear more about their hopes and their dreams of the future when they reclaim Erebor, which would then have transitioned to them as Laketown was being destroyed by the dragon.
** I loved the strange bond that formed between Thranduil and Bard. Like, you wouldn't have expected there to have been some kind of relationship between them, considering how Bard wants to avoid war at all costs whereas Thranduil gives no fucks, but there is an alliance nonetheless. I also liked how this has people shipping them simply from their interaction alone. Single Hot Dads, sharing wine and pretty much telling Gandalf, "you can't sit with us" (that was mostly Thranduil and his bored unrelenting sass, but still). It's rather interesting, and I'm liking this development.
** R.I.P. Thranduil's majestic elk, though. :(
** Even though I know Celeborn is with Galadriel, I still love her and Gandalf's relationship. I mean, the flirting in AUJ was obvious, but then here there's that clear love and admiration from both their ends and I just can't help but ship them in a sense, as well. ♥
** The ravens! I was so happy that we saw Thorin sending the raven to send word to Dain and the Iron Hill dwarves. I want to believe that particular raven was Roäc.
** Legolas throwing the Orcrist to save Thorin. An excellent throwback to when Thorin saved Legolas from the orc during the barrel scene in DOS. It made me so happy, never mind the fact that THORIN GOT ORCRIST BACK! It was a lovely touch to really give us the old Thorin back, of reminding us that this is the Thorin we all knew and loved.
** The recurring themes that paralleled certain characters: Greed, Cowardice, Isolation and Love. There are so many things featured that really connected the story together, and I just loved seeing the little things and I keep noticing them with each time I review the film. For example, Thorin and Thranduil share certain traits. Thorin locks himself away inside his mountain similar to how Thranduil does in his own kingdom and realm, not interested in anyone else but his own kin; the greed that takes over Thorin with the gold sickness, the greed Thranduil has over his precious white gems and the necklace. And so many other examples that I'm not mentioning, but noticing these parallels and seeing the significance of some of them makes me so happy that they were included, because when you take into account some of the context of why each of these things are present it makes so much sense. Like, Thorin locking himself away in his mountain, his paranoia from the gold sickness is obviously taking hold, he says regarding the Laketown folk who had lost their homes from the dragon, "They have much to be grateful for," it's like he's repeating the same things that Thranduil probably said to Thorin and his people when they were exiled, homeless and starving asking for his help. And interestingly enough, Thranduil does come to aid the people of Laketown but only in exchange for something of his. And just, oh! The parallels! All the parallels!
** I really want to talk about Dwalin, because this film shows a softer side to his character than the previous two films. Usually we see him as this gruff, no-nonsense warrior who has had enough of everyone's shit. But here, we see him watching his best friend, someone who he has grown up with, change and succumb to a sickness that he probably wished would never come to pass. When he approaches Thorin about what he has become, he doesn't do it out of anger, but out of sadness. And I feel that he only didn't say something until now is because he probably hoped that Thorin would have snapped out of it by then, and perhaps after Bilbo confessed what he did because of how Thorin had changed and wanted to bring him to his senses that led Dwalin to say something. (Which probably in the extended edition might have him say, as in the trailer, "Bilbo was right...") And he just looked and sounded so heartbroken, like he was so helpless and all he could try to do is talk to his friend, try to make him see reason even if it seemed like a lost cause. And then what he witnesses at Ravenhill...just. Yeah. It hurts, it hurts even more knowing that Dwalin is the only one who outlives the Company well into the Fourth Age.
** The scene when Thorin is coming out of his sickness is possibly one of my favorite scenes. Richard said it was an experimental scene that he wanted to do, because the stage direction was a simple line about Thorin looking into his reflection and seeing what he had become. And what I loved about how the scene played out was how it focuses on Thorin's fears, the dragon, which he sees his reflection on actually becoming the dragon, of the gold actually consuming him much like his grandfather, swallowing him whole. And he hears the voices of those who have been a positive influence on him throughout this quest, reminding him precisely who he is and what his mission was about. And the last thing he hears is Bilbo's voice, loud and clear, along with his own voice, "I am not my grandfather." This scene in itself is a perfect manifestation of what the gold sickness is, which is a mental illness, and how everything that happens in this scene is mostly happening within Thorin's mind itself. Thorin sees himself drowning, trying to run away from the gold but he fails, and be becomes the "dragon" trapped within the gold, hearing the voices. He doesn't want that, he doesn't want to become a gold obsessed monster, he doesn't want to become what his grandfather had become. It's just a wonderful scene showing us that Thorin had to hit rock bottom in order to get himself out from the sickness.
** "I have no right to ask you of this, but will you follow me one last time?" Not only is this a perfect tagline for the marketing of the final Hobbit and Middle-earth film, but it's foreshadowing Thorin's fate. He's asking his fellow kin to follow him "one last time" because he knows that he won't survive this battle. Either he'll die fighting or he'll die being succumbed to the gold. It's basically a suicide mission for him. And when he allows himself to be killed in order to kill Azog, it broke every piece of my heart. HE DESERVED TO LIVE, DAMMIT. HE FOUGHT SO HARD, HE SUFFERED SO MUCH, HE DESERVED TO LIVE AS WELL AS FILI AND KILI. I mean, I knew it was his final decision, but still. My poor babies. *cries*
** Just, everything Thorin Oakenshield, okay? I have so much to say about his character, but I could write many essays about him (especially regarding his low self-esteem and how lowly he thinks of himself, as presented during the height of his madness he clearly seems to hate himself and that is worth examining and looking into). Thorin is so important to me that I literally cannot contain my emotions when talking about him. He is such a tragic character, his entire story breaks my heart and all I wanted for him was to live his life in peace. Basically I wanted the Shire AU to be a reality. *hugs Thorin forever*
** I said this before, but one of the things I have appreciated about The Hobbit films has been the inclusion and portrayal of women, whereas in the source material there were literally none and was quite a sausagefest. Peter Jackson has done this with LOTR where he expanded Arwen's role, particularly in FOTR, and he extended that into The Hobbit by not just including Galadriel into the fold but also an original female character, Tauriel. There were also the women of Laketown who were proactive in the third film, taking arms to fight alongside the men, and we even got a glimpse at Bilbo's mother, Belladonna Took, in the extended edition of AUJ. Do I wish that there were more women present? Of course. I think it's sad that we'll never see Dis (Thorin's sister) or even get the names of Bard and Thranduil's late wives, but at least we had something involving more women in these films and that is something I am extremely grateful for.
As you can see, this film still has an emotional hold over me and that most likely won't let up any time soon. I'm planning on seeing it several more times in the theaters, and my third viewing will be in IMAX pretty soon. If my emotions can handle it, that is.