The thing about Hobbit 3, however, is that the violence is never gratuitous, and is always necessary to advance the plot. Very often when a warrior or villain dies in battle, the death is stylized--I might even dare say 'poetic'. If a death-scene is prolonged, as it is occasionally, it is for emotional impact, because we care deeply about the characters involved. Never does the viewer have to endure blood and gore to satisfy some voyeuristic aesthetic or because a director feels compelled to meet some post-Peckinpah standard for graphic onscreen violence.
At every moment I was engaged while watching this movie--I kept wondering when the fighting scenes would become "too much" and my interest flag. And, I kept asking myself, surely there needs to be some comic relief at some point. But maybe not. Not much comic relief in The Iliad either.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is an epic film and I do not use that word lightly. It deals with big issues in a mature way: life, death, friendship, loyalty, greed, and--in the end--the ultimate theme in so many epics, the passion to return home.