Elfin Mischievous Humbug wrote:
2. The ending could have been much tighter. There was no need for worthless face-off between Thorin and Azog, other than to show Bilbo's worth in Thorin's eyes but I feel like there was no need for that yet. After the long action sequence underneath the Misty Mountains, the added drawn out action in the trees quickly becomes tiresome. It would have been far better for them to be chased up the trees, the fire gets started, everything looks dire, and then suddenly the eagles save the day. End the film with the same final closing scene (Bilbo can prove his worth in smaller way, I guess while up in the trees like knocking down a warg that would have otherwise gotten Thorin or another dwarf).
I couldn't disagree more. In my opinion, the scene you're talking about is the one that shows how much Bilbo has learned during the first part of his adventure. It ties up the themes of this movie and gives the viewer a sense of closure which was badly needed in order to turn this into a proper movie rather than the first segment of a three-part serial.
If I have to wait a full year for the second installment, I need to feel like I've had a satisfyingly complete experience, even though the whole story has not been told. The "oh yeah irrelevant stuff happens oh my god it's been three hours already let's end this" approach simply wouldn't have worked.