Dec. 15, 2013 | 8:21 a.m.
In “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” Peter Jackson’s latest fantasy adapted from the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, Richard Armitage’s dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield is as much the focus of the story as Martin Freeman’s Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. The new film tracks the unlikely partners and the other members of their company as they continue their quest across Middle-earth to defeat the evil dragon Smaug and reclaim the treasure-filled city of Erebor beneath the Lonely Mountain. Meanwhile, Ian McKellen’s wizard Gandalf sets out on a mission of his own, hoping to determine the strength of a primal evil. Critics have responded warmly to this, the second film in a planned trilogy that concludes with next year’s “The Hobbit: There and Back Again.” (The Times’ Betsy Sharkey writes, “In the wake of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,’ last year’s dreary, dense, […]