I gave it an A+.
I loved the LOTR movies and while I was delighted that Jackson was returning to Middle Earth. But I was fully prepared to be disappointed by LOTR. I didn't like the look of the dwarves in the promos. I'd heard bad reports of the 48r. And the padding out of the story seemed a bad omen - sometimes less is more. And I'd seen some so-so reviews.
But my doubts were unwarranted. When I went to see the movie today, I was tired, I was wet, I was hungry (skipped lunch to see it) and cold. My friend who I was supposed to go see it with couldn't make it, so I went alone. And yet, none of that mattered as I sat enthralled for nearly 3 hours.
Yes, it could have done with some trimming and the 48 thingy was distracting at times, for reasons others have undoubtedly explained - though when it was good, it was very good. But ultimately, the movie was a blast, a wonderful return to Middle Earth. Martin Freeman was as good as ever and subtly yet recognisably channelled Ian Holm.
I would put this on a par with Fellowship; like it, it wasn't perfect but was a great introduction. And like FOTR, it left you wanting more and knowing the best was to come.