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Middle-earth's got its mojo back. A huge improvement on the previous installment, this takes our adventurers into uncharted territory and delivers spectacle by the ton.
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Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
Bilbo, as played by Freeman, suggests a sly-dog Dana Carvey without irony, and he is certainly overmatched, but that doesn't mean he's outplayed. Desolation is now his business.
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By Richard Corliss
Smaug is different: a really good movie, superior to the first in that it brings its characters to rambunctious life.
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By Sheila O'Malley
The thematic elements are in place, the emotional tension is highly strung, and the action unfolds in a wave like the fire erupting from the dragon's mouth, overtaking all in its path.
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Total Film

By Matt Maytum
Despite suffering from middle-act wobbles, The Desolation Of Smaug nevertheless delivers rousing action, incredible visuals and one stupendous dragon.
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Village Voice

By Alan Scherstuhl
Sure, all the studios offer anymore are big, dumb adventure spectacles, but that's not a knock against the achievement of this one, which at least parades wonders before us, not the least being the greatest dragon in the history of movies.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Richard Roeper
Even though “Smaug” moves at a faster pace than the first part of the journey, it feels overlong. I still feel this whole Hobbit tale could have been told in one great, three-hour movie.
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By Justin Chang
This robust, action-packed adventure benefits from a headier sense of forward momentum and a steady stream of 3D-enhanced thrills.
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By James Berardinelli
There are things to like about the second Hobbit film - the director's vision of Middle Earth is as beguiling as ever - but the bloating that was a problem with An Unexpected Journey is an even bigger issue here.
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USA Today

By Claudia Puig
When it's not stalled on silly, it falls into slog territory.
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66 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.