The Battle Of Five Armies bids farewell to the hobbits, dwarfs and elves after a cinematic journey which started 13 years ago.
Jackson’s mastery of action sequences is beyond doubt - the two set pieces, which bookend this film, are executed with flair, precision and a miasma of impressive digital effects.
The company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) including Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) watches in horror as the mighty dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) incinerates Laketown.
As the flames rise, Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) prepares to launch the last remaining black arrow at the beast.
His children seek cover with elf warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and badly injured dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner).
Nearby, the Master of Laketown (Stephen Fry) and sniveling henchman Alfrid (Ryan Gage) make their escape in a barge laden with gold.
At Dol Guldur, Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) escapes from the clutches of the Necromancer (Cumberbatch again) and beats a hasty path to the mountains, where various tribes will converge.
As the fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance, Thorin sacrifices everything in his selfish pursuit of the mythical Arkenstone.
The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies follows a similar template to earlier pictures, resolving plot strands including the forbidden romance of Tauriel and Kili as the blood flows in brutal fight sequences. Comical interludes with Alfrid seem to jar with the darker tone that pervades this chapter, including the inevitable loss of at least one hero.
The Hobbit 3 is on at the Hollywood Plaza, Scarborough. from Friday December 12 to Thursday December 18