23. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

This is the first time I have ever made a retraction in the short existence of this blog. In my previous review, I mentioned that The Two Towers is just a middle-of-the-road type movie, just connecting us between the two movies we really want to see, Fellowship and Return of the King. I was mistaken, The Two Towers is much better.

Maybe it’s just fatigue after watching all three Lord of the Rings films in a row, but The Return of the King just didn’t really satisfy me as much as the first two. I think it might have been because this was the film that dived really into the Tolkein mythos, particularly with Aragorn enlisting the army of dead men to help out with the battle against the Orcs. And I find it hard to believe that Frodo would just abandon Sam like that in favor of Smeagol. Yeah yeah, he had the ring around his neck and that clouded his judgment and all, but come on, this is the most epic bromance in movie history were talking about. Also find it odd just how Sam and Frodo were able to stroll right on into Mordor with no problem whatsoever.

I’ve been rewatching Game of Thrones prior to beginning this series, so perhaps I expected a bit too much realism from this last movie. It is a fantasy film after all. But putting that aside, even  with epic sweeping battles, it didn’t really hold my attention that well. The whole “AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, EVERYONE IS SO HAPPY” being shouted at us at the end didn’t really sit with me well either. The Two Towers was much more gritty and to my liking, it actually felt like they might fail their journey. This one, though, there was no point where I didn’t believe everything was going to wrap up nicely.

If anything, watching this last movie reaffirms even more my love for the first. Fellowship of the Ring is one of the greatest movies ever made, both from a storytelling perspective and a technical one. It will be many decades until we see a movie of that scope and craftsmanship again. Don’t get me wrong, Return of the King is a perfectly fine movie, but it’ll be some time before I return to this film for fun.

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