The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug comes out this weekend, but is it worth rushing to see it in theaters? The critics seem to be unsure about that.
The reviews, however, seem to universally believe that Smaug is much better than the first movie, last year's An Unexpected Journey, so there's that.
Also the titular character, a fire-breathing dragon voiced by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch, could be worth the price of admission alone.
You can make up your own mind, but here are two of the film's trailers as well as excerpts from critics to give you an idea of what you can expect ...
"Now we have the sequel. And you know? It's livelier and better than its predecessor. The first movie's harrumphing throat-clearing has given way to a swift, imposing adventure boasting several wing-ding action sequences." - Chicago Tribune
"A year ago, Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey got the job done, but it was too bright and busy and noisy, with creatures that kept popping up as if out of a jack-in-the-box. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a more grandly somber movie, and also a much better one, with forces of boldly intense and unified malevolence." - Entertainment Weekly
"Nearly everything about The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug represents an improvement over the first installment of Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved creation. The 'unexpected journey' launched in last Christmas' box-office behemoth becomes the heart of the matter this time around, making for plenty of peril, warfare, theme-park-ride-style escapes and little-guy courage." - The Hollywood Reporter
"The key reason to shell out for a ticket has always been Smaug, and after a film and a half of build-up, he's certainly worth the wait...A gloriously vast creation, with red-tinged scales, bat-like wings and an elongated jaw set in a permanently sly grin, he's easily the year's most magnificent beast. He has a way with a fearsome one-liner too, and Benedict Cumberbatch hisses out his words with cold-blooded vitriol." - Total Film
"The dragon of the title - voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch and rendered by the furthest advances of computer science - is the bomb. Smaug is, undoubtedly, the coolest movie dragon ever. He's sly and foreboding and his massive stature is quite palpable. My disbelief was suspended like a kid setting off firecrackers in study hall. ... Too bad it takes about two hours to get to him. Before that you've got a whole lot of nothing." - Screen Crush
"Peter Jackson's newest installment of the Tolkien trilogy is set afire by the scorching roar of a dragon...As that suggests, the pace is frenetic. There are a few action sequences that go on a bit long, but the emotional arcs are as well placed as any of Legolas' arrows. And if you know anything about Tolkien's work, you know that is saying a lot." - L.A. Times
"On a purely visceral level The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a 'better' film than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but it fails to rectify any of the fatal issues at play. It is still not nearly good enough." - Forbes