1. More elves.
I know, I know, but dwarves and hobbits are slow and plodding, whereas every time an elf steps onscreen the pace picks up faster than you can unsheath an arrow. Sure, Legolas and Tauriel have been shoehorned into the story, and yes, Tauriel’s romance with Kili seems sappy at best, but I’m okay with all that if it means more manic, elf-fueled scenes like the barrel-riding run down the river.
2. Less Sauron referencing.
The Hobbit was never an intro to The Lord of the Rings, but now it kinda is, way beyond the introduction of Bilbo, Gollum and the ring. Mentioning Sauron, showing the eye and continually referencing the impending darkness isn’t just weird, it’s downright confusing, continuity-wise. After all this buildup, why is Gandalf so surprised by Sauron’s return at the start of Fellowship? Has his memory been washed with C-3PO’s and R2-D2’s?
3. A proper final blowout.
If Peter Jackson does one thing well, it’s staging epic battles. The Two Towers’ Helm’s Deep was better than I’d ever imagined growing up with the books, and The Return of the King’s Battle of the Pelennor Fields came close to meeting my ridiculously high expectations. When dwarves, elves, humans, goblins, wargs, eagles, a wizard, a hobbit and a skin-changing bear meet up, how can it be anything but bananas?