We all know the story told in the movies based on the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The three Lord of the Rings movies are generally considered to be among the best movies ever made and to me they are also by far the best fantasy movies ever. I will provide a short analysis of each movie and then answer the question: when comparing the three movies, which one is the best?
The Fellowship of the Ring
As the introduction to the world and characters of LOTR, The Fellowship of the Ring pulls viewers into the story, amazing them with the rich and detailed world and likeable characters. The movie sets up the complete story line and prepares viewers for what is to come. It is therefore very memorable but at the same time it is somewhat slow-paced with lots of dailogues and less action/ battles.
IMDb rating: 8.8 – Rotten Tomatoes rating: 92%
The Two Towers
The second movie of the trilogy is well balanced: Frodo and Sam go off to destroy the ring while at the same time the rest of the fellowship go on their own quests. This results in several story lines focusing on the struggles of Frodo but at the same time gives attention to the other people and races that inhabit Middle-earth and their fight against the forces of evil. There is much attention for politics, deceipt and mistrust while the dialogues between Legolas and Gimli even provide some humor. The battle of the Ents at Saruman’s tower and the legendary battle at Helm’s Deep between the Rohirrim and the Uruk-Hai are a great conclusion to this movie.
IMDb rating: 8.7 – Rotten Tomatoes rating: 96%
The Return of the King
The third and last Lord of the Rings movie focuses on two major topics: the ever more difficult quest of Frodo to reach mount Doom and destroy the ring on the one hand and the build up to the enourmous battle on the Pelennor Fields at the city of Minas Tirith on the other hand. Together they bring the trilogy to a very tense, tragic and impressively made ending. A minor downside is that it takes a really long time to get there: at some point I felt like ‘just get it over with’!
IMDb rating: 8.8 – Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%
Comparison and Conclusion
You may already have understood it when reading the short analysis of each of the movies: The Two Towers is my favorite LOTR movie. It has the best balance between character development, the journey to destroy the ring and action in the form of smaller fights and the large battle at Helm’s Deep. The other two movies were great but focused a bit too much on specific themes which to me made them just a little less good.
Still, together I believe the movies to be by far the best fantasy movies made and I do not expect any other fantasy movie to ever outclass them. However, I do hope that one day The Hobbit will also be made into a movie and that it will be of the same quality.