Middle Earth Movies Ranked

by Pjtaylor-96-138044 | created - 16 Sep 2015 | updated - 11 months ago | Public

This is how I rank Peter Jackson's Middle Earth Saga, from best (#1) to worst.

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1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

PG-13 | 201 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

94 Metascore

Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom

Votes: 1,489,021 | Gross: $377.85M

Culminating in a blistering finale to each story strand, this feature is only marred by multiple endings and a story sometimes stretched a little too thin. Still, the flick flies by and is as fun as ever.

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

PG-13 | 178 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

92 Metascore

A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean

Votes: 1,505,040 | Gross: $315.54M

Probably has the most 'story' of the three but seems to spend more time on exposition than anything else. Still, it feels like more gets done overall and it also has it's fair share of fantastic action.

3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

PG | 179 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

87 Metascore

While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron's new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom

Votes: 1,346,396 | Gross: $342.55M

The battle of Helm's Deep is one of the best battle sequences I've ever seen, easily the highlight of this movie. Gollum is also a great character and the world gets a little darker as the power of the ring begins to take hold.

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

PG-13 | 161 min | Adventure, Fantasy

66 Metascore

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott

Votes: 564,377 | Gross: $258.37M

The best of The Hobbit films by a mile, this iteration has a slower but more brooding story and an even tone that allows for some more impactful action.

5. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

PG-13 | 144 min | Adventure, Fantasy

59 Metascore

Bilbo and company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the Lonely Mountain from falling into the hands of a rising darkness.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett

Votes: 437,427 | Gross: $255.12M

An over-focus on CGI makes the battles in this feel entirely intangible, a far cry from the fantastic scenes in 'The Two Towers' and 'Return Of The King', but some of the story beats are entertaining enough.

6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

PG-13 | 169 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

58 Metascore

A reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of dwarves to reclaim their mountain home, and the gold within it from the dragon Smaug.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis

Votes: 718,519 | Gross: $303.00M

The first half of this is utter trash, the second half picks up a little and reintroduces Gollum but the overall experience feels childish and is really boring. I wasn't engaged at all with the story or characters and an inconsistent tone prevented me from ever being so.

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