Other criticisms? Like the first two films, The Return of the King is cursed with bland heroes. Elijah Woods' Frodo remains a boring bundle of emo, and Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn seems concerned mostly with his ability to walk while looking manly. Much better is Andy Serkis as Gollum; and Jackson has the good sense to frame his story so that Serkis, not Wood, emerges as the protagonist. But by the time all those endings have played out you'll be lucky if you even remember Gollum was in the movie.
But why carp? Lord knows there's a lot worse out there. A week ago, for instance, I finally got to see the much-praised 1945 short The House I Live In, in which a young Frank Sinatra stumbles on a bunch of kids about to beat up a Jew and lectures them on tolerance. We need to get past our petty bigotries and work together, he says, and then he illustrates the point with a tale about a Christian soldier and a Jewish soldier who team up to kill -- this is a quote -- "the Japs." He caps his case by singing Abel Meeropol's ode to American diversity, "The House I Live In," but leaves out the verse preaching brotherhood between blacks and whites.
Naturally, the film won a Special Oscar for advancing the cause of tolerance.