The second installment is in the books as the dwarfs try to regain their home. In this installment we are introduced to a passionate elf named Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) one of the bright spots of the film. I thought the spiders were more realistic. Tauriel reiterates a basic theme "Are we not part of this world?" When good people stand by, evil wins.
It was interesting to see Legolas (Orlando Bloom) in this film as it establishes his relationship with the dwarfs to create better story continuity. At the same time the continuity is lost as we never have that scene in LOTR when Legolas says to Gimli, "Hey, I met your father." Radagast (Sylvester McCoy) once again appears in the Hobbit, a wizard cut out of LOTR for "brevity." If only we could go back and film it all over.
The film ends at an awkward point. Most people I have talked to claimed this was better than the first installment with more action. I will admit I enjoyed the first feature better, and of all the 5 films released to date, I would rate this as the weakest. Still, if you are going to see the third film, you pretty much need to see this one in spite on any shortcomings. Yes, the weakest of the five, I still loved it and rated 5 stars. People who are lovers of the book, will find this tale nearly unrecognizable.