I fully expected not to enjoy The Desolation of Smaug. In Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson took an overly long, poorly edited book trilogy and transformed it to a tight movie trilogy with likeable characters and intense action. In part 1 of the Hobbit, Jackson did just the opposite. He took a tight story and created a meandering, boring movie.
Well, he learned his lesson this time around. While Jackson could not undo the very bad idea of turning the short novel into a 3 movie marathon, he did make a movie worthy of the Lord of the Rings legacy. He did three very smart things in this new movie (i) he focussed on a few compelling dwarves from part 1; in part 1 we felt we didn’t get close to any of them; (ii) he introduced some new characters who where different and more physically and intellectually attractive than the dwarves; (iii) finally, he did a superb job in balancing action with story telling making the movie feel epic, in a way similar to Lord of the Rings, although admittedly not to the same level.