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Matt Maytum’s “Difficult Second Film…” Is Worthwhile Despite Confusion

In response to Matt Maytum’s 755‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Total Film

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If the audience is left scratching its collective head by the time it comes to the end of Matt Maytum’s “‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’: That difficult second film…”, well it’s perfectly understandable since he has much more praise for the film than criticism. In fact, when things start off, it seems like the audience is about to read a very negative review only for Maytum’s piece to take an abrupt about-face a few paragraphs in.

There is “plenty to enjoy” he proclaims at one point; well that’s obvious by all the praise he proceeds to heap on the movie. Strong lead performance? Check. Good job by the director in moving the plot forward? Check. Praise for the addition of characters not in the original source? Double check. Standout scenes? Well, yeah. The acclaim goes on and on. In fact, it’s a veritable second Hobbit film admiration society.

You might have to go back to the beginning of the piece to remember what the critic’s main beef was. Oh, yeah—the film suffers from being the middle film of a three-film trilogy, causing a lack of  narrative (no clear beginning, middle and end) and a problem with character development. Well, if these were such big issues that he had to start the piece with them, he certainly doesn’t dwell on them much. Nor does he offer a solution of how to get around the film feeling “very much like a middle.”

Oh, well.  That Difficult Second Film is still a worthwhile read even if it’s unclear what the initial hullabaloo is all about.    

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