The second part of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy sees the fellowship part company.
Frodo and Sam encounter Gollum, cleverly presented as a kind of wretched schizophrenic drug addict which makes for a much more interesting character dynamic than the “You’re my best friend Sam! “I love you Mr. Frodo!” of the first film. Meanwhile Pippin and Merry escape their captors and persuade the forest dwelling Ent to join the fight in a rather ham-fisted eco analogy. Finally Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli whose camaraderie is developed find new allies in Rohan and rejoin Gandalf to defend the fortress of Helm’s Deep in a quite spectacular and monumental battle sequence. Although The Two Towers is as long as The Fellowship Of The Ring, the intertwining story threads, all told in parallel complete with a liberal dose of action make for much better pacing. I still have a problem with stories reliant on magic because if characters can come back to life for no reason other than it’s convenient to the plot or can just say “Abracadabra” and make danger, and therefore suspense, disappear makes for little in the way of narrative logic.
I also felt that Saruman got far too little screen time which left a focal villain lacking, but in this film Peter Jackson has made a fantasy film I not only endured, but enjoyed.