Gandalf mentions Radagast often sees Beorn, meaning he lives around the area, near Mirkwood. Considering the presence of the Necromancer and Radagast's interest in nature it makes sense Radagast lives close to the Necromancer, meaning the Wizards can be aware of him and Radagast can protect those most threatened by his power.
Gandalf leaves the Company just before they enter Mirkwood and at the end we find he joined other Wizards to drive the Necromancer away. He may have been leaving to meet Radagast so they could plan the attack together.
In the First Age Sauron was Lord of Werewolves. It is hardly surprising that there are so many Wargs close to his domain. He may even have been increasing their numbers from Dol Guldur.
If the Company hadn't been in the woods next to the Misty Mountains the Goblins and Wargs would have succeeded in killing or capturing many of the people who were settling nearby. And Gandalf says a wizard is always on time.
Thorin puts up a good fight against the trolls with only a log of wood. But of course he would: Fighting with a branch of oak is how he got the name Oakenshield!
Take a look at the movie poster on the main page, with Bilbo Baggins framed by the door of Bag End. Not only is the door certainly meant to be a visual metaphor for the One Ring - but the shadow cast by the light and the dark of his silhouette makes up the eye of Sauron.
The final image of the film is Smaug's eye opening. Looks a bit like the eye of Sauron as well (yellow, red rimmed).
If you've read the Silmarillion, you know that Sauron started out as Aulë's helper/disciple. He probably KNEW Aulë and the Dwarves enough to know of the resistance to corruption and of the loophole the Dwarves' love of metals and gems could pose.
An Unexpected Journey. One of the dwarfs finds an arrow and disgustedly declares that it's Elven. This parallels the similar scene from LOTR, save that that arrow was Goblin in origin. Now, obviously, the racial tensions between dwarfs and elves cool down, to the point of genuine friendship in some cases, in the time-frame of LOTR. If we push this parallel, could it be the filmmakers' way of saying, "Hey, even the Orcs could be welcomed among the beings of Middle-Earth some day"? There is basis on Tolkien canon, given that Tolkien wavered on whether the orcs were really Always Chaotic Evil.
In Rivendell, Gandalf asks Elrond for his help reading the map. This may come as a surprise, given how learned Gandalf always seems. Can't he read Moon Runes himself? Then, by a staggering coincidence, it turns out that exactly the right phase of moon is shining tonight. Except... what if it's not a coincidence? What if Gandalf knew about the Moon Runes all along, but was using this as a pretext to come to Rivendell, consult Elrond, and 'let slip' about their quest, in order to try and get the White Council onside for his bigger campaign to deal with Smaug? Once you rule out a massive coincidence and Gandalf being unusually dense, it turns out to be a stunning Batman Gambit on the part of Gandalf (who says in the book of The Hobbit that he doesn't believe in luck and chance!).
Upon reclaiming the Lonely Mountain, one of the first things Thorin does is gift Bilbo with the priceless and impenetrable mithril shirt that will later save his life during the Battle of the Five Armies. Many years later in Rivendell, Bilbo gives the same shirt to Frodo to protect him during his journey to destroy the One Ring. Thorin's gift to Bilbo is what ultimately saves Frodo from certain death on multiple occasions and helps him reach Mount Doom and defeat Sauron. So, despite Thorin being unable to save Fíli and Kíli, he was able to redeem himself by indirectly gifting an excellent form of protection to Bilbo's nephew. It's also mentioned by both Gandalf and Gimli that Bilbo's mithril shirt is worth more than the entire Shire, and was also one of the most valuable pieces of treasure in Erebor. Gimli refers to it as the most kingly of all gifts and since Khazad-dûm is the only known dwarven city to mine mithril, it's likely that Bilbo's shirt is one of the most valuable objects in all of Middle-Earth. And this isn't counting the treasure chest from the troll hoard that Bilbo brought home as well. No wonder Bilbo's so wealthy!
Gollum, while still being creepy, is willing to play a game with Bilbo and seems like less of a threat. This contrasts the darker aspects of the character seen in the original trilogy. The reason? In LOTR, Gollum has been separated from his Precious for sixty years, on top of his Ring-induced craziness and prolonged torture at Sauron's hands for information about its whereabouts. He's also quite happy to have a 'playmate', after five hundred years with only himself to talk to, particularly one of his own kind who knows riddles. In the movie, he may have had a few bites of goblin as Bilbo was slowly making his way over, so he wasn't hungry enough to be aggressive.
When Gollum loses the riddle game, he slowly and menacingly approaches Bilbo while saying he lost repeatedly, then reaches into his pocket. Gollum was probably thinking "we'll see about that..." and was intending to use the invisibility powers of the One Ring to kill Bilbo, only to find out that it wasn't there.
Why is Galadriel more ready to believe Gandalf about the threat of the Necromancer and Sauron's return? Because she knows better than anyone that he's still out there, due to resisting his mental warfare for centuries. She knows his presence is still quite real in Middle-Earth.
Of course, Galadriel has been in Middle-Earth longer than anyone else on the White Council (except Círdan, who is considerably older still) - she knows the signs, and may even have foreseen via her mirror that this chain of events could lead to Sauron's return.
There is probably also an element of the fact that she knows Olórin and Curunír far better than pretty much anybody else left in Middle-Earth, having potentially known them back in Valinor (and most of the other remaining Noldor to have had the opportunity to do so having either left already, died, or been born in Middle-Earth like Elrond was), so she knows that Olórin/Gandalf is probably wiser and thus more trustworthy of testimony than Curunír/Saruman (the former having apprenticed under the Vala of Mercy and Wisdom, the latter under the Vala of the Forge, to say nothing of Olórin's overly modest and humble tendencies and Curunír's overlarge ego meaning Olórin is more likely to fail to bring up something relevant than to bring up something incorrect and Curunír is likely to dismiss something relevant if he isn't involved).
Adding to the above, in the book version of Fellowship there's a brief line of Galadriel's which states that she was the one who organized the White Council and had wanted Gandalf to be in charge rather than Saruman (presumably Gandalf declined and/or Saruman charmed his way into the position). That should tell you right there which wizard's judgment she trusts the most.
She's using her Phial, that will have been given to Sam in LOTR, to combat the Necromancer. It holds a bit of light of the "Morning Star", which is a Silmaril which was made from the Two Trees. Brilliant that it is the only thing effective against the Necromancer. Brilliant in that she doesn't have to use her Ring of Power, still keeping it hidden from Sauron. And brilliant literally.
Much is made of Radagast's badassery in fighting the Witch-King at Dol Guldur. The reason he defeats the Nazgûl lord may well be because Sauron is still extremely weak and his servants have not regained nearly enough of their full strength.
Thorin and his family:
There are mentions of how there are a number of glimpses of Thorin's deep affection for his nephews, Fíli and Kíli, in the films. Now, if you read Tolkien's anthropology notes on dwarves, it follows: because male dwarves outnumber females 3 to 1 (and many choose never to marry, just to make it worse), then even before the fall of their Kingdom, the vast majority of male dwarves never married or had children. For this reason, it follows that uncles would have great emotional attachment to their nephews and nieces.
Thorin also had a younger brother who was killed at Azanulbizar. They may have been Replacement Goldfish for Frerin as well, as Dis's sons are the only children any of them had.
As another possibility, Thorin was far too young to be courting seriously at the time of the destruction of Erebor (mid-twenties, and Dis is nearly 100 when she starts her family), but they must have lost an awful lot of girls and women of that generation in the attack. Was there someone he was sweet on who didn't go outside to play that day?
Bifur's axe-in-the-head at first appears as nothing more than a quirky way of distinguishing the character. But in the novel, Bifur barely has any lines at all. So Bifur's main character trait is more than just that - it's a clever and probably unintentional bit of brilliance on Peter Jackson's part since Bifur is just as mute in the film as he was in the book. Word of God suggests it was entirely intentional.
On first viewing, the ramshackle mechanisms, suspension bridges, and platforms of the goblin settlement are just a cool place for a frantic running battle. Then, you think back to how the earlier views of Erebor at its height looked — awesome stone bridges spanning deep chasms, great machines for smelting and forging, rope-suspended miners chipping at gold seams — and you realize it's another case of Tolkien's worst villains being incapable of true creation, only of making shoddy copies of their betters' handiwork.
Interestingly, the novel mentions that goblins can tunnel and build as well as all but the most skilled dwarves, but only when they have a mind to, and most of the time they just use slave-labor or other means of saving time and effort. That puts a very clear light on the distinctions between the ramshackle "good-enough" quality of Goblin-Town and the loving artistry and architecture of Erebor, not as a question of skill but of attitude.
Both the construction of Goblin-town (why the town is constructed the way it is and how it holds together/falls apart just as needed by the plot) and the lengthy fight and chase scene between the dwarves and goblins seem rather...improbable. The author (Bilbo) who is purportedly retelling the adventure is also notably absent, since he's dealing with Gollum down below. So who gave Bilbo the blow-by-blow account of the battle for him to describe later? Considering the colorful descriptions of dragons and orc raids so enthusiastically provided by Bofur, Fíli, and Kíli, as well as Gandalf's comment about good stories needing "embellishment," is it any wonder that the account of Goblin-town is a bit larger than life?
The goblins here are far more civilized and well-fed than their cousins in Moria. The book mentions that they made a living by ambushing travellers, so they'd have learned Common and have a steady supply of food, as opposed to the Moria goblins, who have very little to eat and are constantly being terrorized by a literal demon.
Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur are the only dwarves not descended from a noble line and in contrast their clothing is much browner and more bland than the rest of the group who wear colorful fabrics and furs.
While the Elvish and Black Speech in the films is all subtitled, none of anything the dwarves say in Khuzdul (even Bifur who speaks only Khuzdul) is translated for the viewers' benefit. This makes sense when remembering that Aulë made the language unique to his creations and thus they are jealously protective of it, rarely speaking it to anyone but fellow dwarves so that there are few in all Middle-Earth who can read/understand it. Tolkien didn't even expand on the language that much for the purpose of leaving it secret.
Each race has a very noticeable style for their weapons and armor - angular and broad for dwarvish weaponry; humble simplicity without a broad hilt for the men of Rohan; and notably, curved blades, usually backswords, for the elves. And, just as notably, most orcish swords are curved backswords. It might seem like the orcs are just copying the elves... but then again, The Silmarillion points out that it was Morgoth, creator of the orcs, who first instructed the elves in the making of weapons of war... Plus, the orcs themselves are elves, tortured and corrupted by evil. The similarity in their weapons serves as a small hint to that.
Why are the dwarves so rude as to eat everything in Bilbo's larder without asking first or paying respect to Bilbo? Well, they were invited for a dinner, weren't they? Gandalf probably used food as a deal-maker, considering that dwarves can't have been terribly enthusiastic about a detour for the sake of a hobbit burglar. Clearly a wizard's word has more weight than the guy who actually lives there.
There is the tradition that the host provides for his guests in the event of a party, however unexpected and that they be as respectful as guests; hence, the cleanup at the end where one could hardly tell they'd even been there if not for the pillaged larder. There is also no indication that they wouldn't have reimbursed Bilbo for the loss, especially when one considers how enormous one fourteenth share of the treasure of Erebor is. The fact that Bilbo doesn't take his share is mitigated by the treasure he does gain from the troll hoard on the return journey which would be more than enough to keep the whole of Hobbiton well fed for a very long time
There's also a slightly more prosaic reason in the fact that Bilbo was on his adventure for a little over a year, at least according to the book's version of events. Not everything in his larder would have lasted that long without spoiling or getting eaten by mice, so it may have been a subtle way for Tolkien to imply Bilbo was going to be away from home for quite awhile.
The Goblin King's crown had several long spikes that curve inward. It's pretty clearly a crude imitation of the crowns worn by the Nazgûl, which in turn resemble the spikes on the helmet of Sauron, himself. It's interesting to see how cultural icons are shown to pass on even among the evil races of Middle-Earth.
There was a lot of discussion about Kíli having only Perma-Stubble and not a full beard when the promotional materials first came out, but considering he's an archer, it makes sense. Archers typically do what's called "kissing the arrow", which means bringing it near their mouth as a guide, and having any kind of beard would mean that it would probably get caught in the bowstring whenever he'd let off a shot, so it makes sense that, dwarf or not, he'd keep a very short beard to prevent any accidents.
Azog's oath to break the line of Durin gives a much stronger reason for the Battle of the Five Armies, while the book only gave the reason of avenging the Great Goblin's death. And he will partially succeed at it.
Dwalin is the first to arrive at Bag End. Bilbo, being both polite and timid, lets him in. Then comes Balin, who more or less lets himself in once he sees his brother. Then it's a set of young and excited brothers who overwhelm Bilbo. Then the rest all arrive with Gandalf, at which point Bilbo is hopelessly outnumbered. It's a funny sequence of events, but also almost the exact same method Gandalf will use when introducing the dwarves to Beorn.
The reactions of the dwarves to Bilbo tells you a lot about their character. Dwalin is contemptuous of Bilbo and brusquely orders him around. Balin is a bit more polite and treats Bilbo more as an equal rather than a pest. Fíli and Kíli are cheerful and seem more curious about Bilbo, probably having never met a hobbit before.
Elrond spends the movie in a much better mood compared to LOTR. Not only is it because the world's fate isn't at stake: his daughter is spending time in Lothlórien and Aragorn hasn't even met her yet - he doesn't have to deal with those complicated family issues yet!
On the Fridge page for LOTR, people noted the Uncanny Valley quality of the Ring never bouncing when it falls. Now watch The Hobbit and see that it bounces like a normal object. It doesn't yet have the weight it will have in the sequels, both metaphorically and literally. Also, maybe it wanted to bounce. The rings abandons Gollum, after all. It wanted to get away, so it bounced.
Thorin, Fíli, and Kíli look less dwarvish than the rest of the dwarves, being closer to a human appearance. Why, you ask? Because the film makers want the audience to like them as much as they like Bilbo and Gandalf, aspiring to make their deaths at the Battle of the Five Armies more dramatic. It's easier to relate to human-looking characters. Alternately, they don't look like humans, they look like Hobbits. All the other dwarves look more like caricatures, because Bilbo didn't get to know them as well. And remember, The Hobbit is supposed to be Bilbo's story of the events that transpired, filtered through his memory and possibly embellished a little. Or maybe it's a combination of both.
The scene in which Thorin takes up the oak branch and cuts off Azog's arm is visually quite similar to the scene when Isildur takes up his father's sword and cuts off Sauron's finger. Thorin falls to the gold sickness just as Isildur was seduced by the One Ring's power.
During the scene where the Eagles rescue the Company, Thorin's gauntlet falls off when they pick him up. That's how Azog is going to be able to keep chasing after him as his Wargs will now have Thorin's scent.
The underground orcs are poorly armored and thus easily killed. Therefore orcs could never be a total threat on their own, without Sauron / Saruman. This is what Gimli later means under "Rabble of mindless orcs". By contrast, Uruk-hai (from "The Two Towers") are better armed and armored — "Their armor is thick and their shields broad" - and therefore are much more formidable opponents.
The scene when Bilbo spares Gollum becomes this when you realize that it is a call back to two scenes earlier in the film. The first is obvious when Gandalf tells Bilbo that true courage is knowing when not to take a life. That one is obvious. the true brilliance is that it is also a call back to the scene between Gandalf and Galadriel when he says "Saruman believes it is only a great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I've found. I've found it is ... the small things. Everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love." In the end, Bilbo's simple act of kindness towards Gollum is ultimately what defeats Sauron.
In relation to the above Fridge Brilliance regarding Thorin's relation to Fíli and Kíli, Bilbo's adoption of Frodo mirrors the dwarf tradition of fostering relatives as surrogate sons in lieu of biological sons since very few dwarves ever marry or have children.
Though Tolkien never describes the rune on Bilbo's door in the book, Peter Jackson was pretty clever in picking the one for the movie. The sign is Middle-Earth's 'G' for Gandalf, and is shown as his insignia in The Lord of the Rings, but it also matches the Norse rune Fehu, which in Norse mysticism stands for possessions won or earned, luck, a sign of hope and plenty, and success. In short, all the things that the Dwarves hope for in their adventure. The sign reversed refers to a loss of personal property, greed, and discord — in other words, a short summary of the fall of the Dwarf kingdom. It also refers to poverty (which the Dwarfs are in) and dullness/cowardice (which Gandalf wants to jolt Bilbo out of).
There's a few scenes that seem completely unconnected to each other and are random and left unexplained. One scene is of old Bilbo and Frodo discussing their more unsavory relatives who want Bilbo's money. They seem to think he owns a cave of gold, but instead it is merely a small box. One wonders why they would think this, but if you watch the movie carefully, it's clear about how they got this impression. Bilbo hasn't told the full story to anyone and is now just writing the tale 60 years after the event. Everyone heard snippets of the story and made assumptions. For instance, in Bilbo's contract, he was promised 1/14th the amount of profit from the adventure if there was any. The Kingdom of Erebor is the richest kingdom of all time and his adventure was successful. In addition, his story included the trolls that were turned to stone. In that cave was buried a small box of gold found with the trolls that the dwarves were saving a hidden stash. "An investment for the future." His relatives heard snippets of the tale and assumed that Bilbo hid his treasure from Erebor in that very cave and is hoarding his millions of pounds of gold out of selfishness when, in fact, all he got was the small chest. It's really a nice Continuity Nod in the making with a dash of Foreshadowing. Bilbo declines his reward.
On that note, the treasure of Erebor is MASSIVE. Even if Bilbo hired a bunch of caravans it would have been a lot of trouble and taken years to actually get his 1/14th back to the Shire, and that's assuming the trip went smoothly and one or more of the caravans didn't just steal it or the caravans weren't besieged by orcs and bandits at various points. Bilbo really wants to go home too, so simply settling somewhere near Erebor and living like a king is out. On the other hand, the troll horde isn't all that far from the Shire and has plenty of treasures in it for Bilbo to live comfortably from then on, so it's far simpler to just decline his reward and take from that and the adventure is still more than worth it.
In the second battle between Azog and Thorin, Thorin gets hit by a lot of attacks that he should have been able to dodge. When you think about it, Thorin didn't get any sleep the previous night, spent all day running from and fighting goblins, and spent part of the night running from wargs and orcs. He was too tired to be agile, and thus was curbstomped.
When the other dwarves arrive on the scene, Smaug goes from talking to hunting, as noted on the main page under Idiot Ball. However, clearly Smaug knows that talking is a singular weapon; attempting to use it in the company of many would not be wise, as merely one unaffected person could destroy his manipulations with the right words. Plus, with few exceptions, Smaug's patience/restraint suffer from Gold Fever and a Berserk Button - so he sees the entire Company as a threat to that, and the time for talk is over (for now). A lot of dragons are also portrayed temperament-wise as cats, arrogant, graceful, and mean. Smaug was behaving like a cat and "playing" with his prey. Since he had already destroyed a dwarf kingdom in his prime, he clearly felt a handful of dwarves would be easy to take care of and wanted to have some fun before killing them.
Smaug quickly realises that Bilbo is invisible due to the power of a Great Ring and easily tracks him down by smell and sound. Since four of the Seven Rings were destroyed by dragons, it's possible that he has first-hand experience of their power and knows how to deal with it. Whether or not he's figured out that Bilbo's Ring is the One is another matter, though.
Bard takes twice the usual payment to smuggle the dwarves into Laketown... but that's not because he's greedy or it's the usual "smuggler's fee." It's because he needs the money to buy the fish used in the disguise, and bribe all relevant authorities. He may even have ended up doing the whole thing for free, because of the lengths he had to go to.
Thranduil beheads an orc while apparently looking the other way. Given his injuries, which include a milky white eye that he hides with glamour, it's likely that he's blind in one eye, and has learned a fighting style that takes his limited vision into account.
The "last light on the Durin's Day" has been changed from sunlight in the book to moonlight in the movie. But the Moon doesn't have any light on its own, so the light of the Moon is indeed the last light of the Sun reflecting from it. Also, the writing on the map that shows this condition for finding the door is hidden by moon runes, which are only revealed by a certain moonlight in a certain time of the year. It makes sense that the people that made the door and hid the conditions to finding the door on the map would tie finding the door to the moon as well.
Why do the characters keep the same length and, for many of the dwarves, high degree of organization of facial hair throughout the films, even Kíli's unchanging Perma-Stubble? It's because the story is based on Bilbo's memories, jotted down more than half a century after the fact. We're mainly seeing the characters as Bilbo remembers them, rather than tracking their facial hair growth in real time.
Elephants, which are migratory animals, form protective circles around their young when faced with danger, much like the dwarves did in Rivendell. The fact that the dwarves instinctively use this tactic really drives home the point of Bilbo's speech about how the dwarves are used to not belonging anywhere. It would also make sense from an evolutionary perspective, as per canon dwarves very rarely have children, and thus taking a similar stance to protect the weaker amongst them is born of a strong instinctual need to protect the next generation.
Gandalf's visible unease and shudder in The Fellowship of the Ring when Saruman evokes the eye of Sauron is now easy to understand: he had a very close encounter with said eye and its owner in Dol Guldur.
Why did Gandalf only shield himself against Sauron at Dol Guldur, rather than trying to end it there while Sauron was still relatively weak and at point-blank range? Part of the instructions the wizards were given before leaving Valinor was not to try and match Sauron's power for power, to avoid another Beleriand incident — he wasn't allowed to engage in direct combat, and so was trying his best to survive without attacking.
The scene with the captured orc makes it quite clear that Thorin has more than just personal reasons for not dealing with Thranduil, who has broken his word in the past and shows a nasty tendency towards Exact Words in his dealings with others.
Wife's keepsake or not, Thranduil's obsession with the white gems to the point of abandoning the Dwarves completely and later jailing Thorin and company over them shows an obsessive streak that in his case at least highlights how Thranduil is Not So Different from the Dwarves he so despises.
During the battle with Smaug, the only attack that the worm doesn't laugh off is getting doused with a couple tons of water. Given how he's essentially a living furnace, it probably felt like being these soda cans.
Near the end of Desolation of Smaug Thorin sails along molten gold in an iron wheelbarrow to escape Smaug. While it would seem impossible at the first glance, physics and chemistry dictates that gold's melting point is more than 900 Fahrenheits (500C) lower than that of iron, making it possible for the wheelbarrow and Thorin to survive the experience.
Why are there far more instances of unrealistic physics than the original LOTR trilogy and several subplots that were invented for the film, such as the love story? Because much like his recitation of the troll scene in Fellowship, Bilbo's book is meant for children and so he's purposefully embellishing parts of the story to make them more exciting. This would also tie with how Tolkien retconned the scene where Bilbo wins the Ring from Gollum in the first edition of The Hobbit, having Gandalf explain it away in LOTR as a lie Bilbo made up under the influence of the Ring.
The film seems to portray Orcs and Goblins as different races, although tie-in materials claims they are a subset of Orcs. We hear elsewhere of Orcs bred for different purposes. Maybe the Goblins are Orcs who have been specifically bred to live underground, hence the reason they are smaller.
Radagast being the first Wizard to notice the evil spreading from Dol Guldur ties into ideas from Tolkien that it is the little things that make the big things happen. Saruman has contempt for Radagast's interest in nature, but it is this interest, even down to caring for a hedgehog, that leads Radagast to notice the dark magic spreading through Middle-Earth before anybody else.
At the end of the third film Thranduil advises Legolas to go north and look after a certain Ranger called Strider. This can cause Tolkien purists to do double-takes, since in the book-verse Aragorn was only about ten when the events of The Hobbit were happening, and was still in hiding at Rivendell. However, Jackson's film timeline is different to Tolkien's, since the seventeen years between Bilbo's 111th birthday party and Frodo's flight from the Shire were omitted; thus, this version of Aragorn is probably in his twenties. Assuming the dates stated in the films are exact, Aragorn tells Eowyn that he's 87 in the Extended Edition of The Two Towers, and assuming the statement "for sixty years, the ring lay quiet in Bilbo's keeping" is exact, that means film!Aragorn would be 27 circa The Hobbit.
Gandalf's reaction to Bilbo using the ring at his 111th birthday party makes even more sense now that we know Bilbo lied to Gandalf by saying he lost the ring. By revealing he had it when he did, Gandalf is not only ticked by Bilbo's flippant use of it, but because of the lie maintained through all those years.
Gandalf noticing Bilbo's resistance to dragon-sickness may have led him to discover the general Hobbit ability to resist corrupting influences — such as that of the One Ring.
When Azog falls into the ice during his final battle with Thorin, Thorin just stands there and watches as Azog's supposed corpse floats by, which sounds stupid because it leaves him a sitting duck when Azog stabs him through the ice. However, since Azog survived almost certain death the first time the two fought all those years ago, it makes sense that Thorin wouldn't be content with simply assuming Azog drowned and wanted to make ABSOLUTELY SURE Azog was dead this time, and he with good reason believed the Orc was freezing and suffocating to death at the same time as well so he ended up getting caught by surprise.
Bilbo's reclusive behavior in the years following his adventure and most notably the outcome of the Battle of the Five Armies is attributed by most partly to the One Ring, however it's possible that losing not just one but three people he had come to be close friends with left him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and he doesn't believe he can even relate to most Hobbits anymore, even his own family save for Frodo.
Azog wanting to wipe out the line of Durin may make sense, because of an idea that Durin VII will eventually lead the Dwarves back to Moria. Azog wants to wipe out Durin's descendants to make sure this can never happen.
As much a Tear Jerker as it is, Kíli/Tauriel doesn't cheapen the relationship Legolas and Gimli has in the LOTR trilogy, precisely because it doesn't work out. If anything, it serves as a precedent for Legolas/Gimli — that yes, elves and dwarves can fall in love/have a lifelong bond. It also potentially adds some layers to the animosity between Gimli and Legolas in the beginning: Gimli presumably knows from his father about Thranduil's actions in the past. Meanwhile, Tauriel, who was Legolas's comrade and who he is implied to have had some feelings for, fell in love with a dwarf and may even have died of a broken heart after Kíli's death.
Army weapon choices:
Dwarves stereotypically favor the axe as a weapon, so it at first seems odd that the Iron Hill dwarves are primarily pikemen. But consider the native environment of dwarves: hills and mountains. Both of these are terrain with confined areas that are ideal for frontal assaults with phalanxes since the flanks would be covered by the terrain. It is not unlike ancient Greek military tactics.
In addition to this, a medieval army would have been mostly composed of pikemen. Pikes are much easier weapons to use than axes, which require significantly more skill, and pikes are also ideal for mass combat because one's army can kill many opponents without being in range of counterattacks. The fact that this is a common military tactic is proven when, in reaction to the dwarven pikemen, the army of Thranduil retreats their archers in favor of multiple rows of pikemen at the front lines.
Also, even if it's elves and men they're expecting to stand off at Erebor, Thorin's message to Dain probably mentioned how orcs on warg-back had been hounding his own party for much of their journey, and to keep an eye out for Azog's scouts on the way to Lonely Mountain. Whether warg-mounted or horse-mounted, cavalry units are a lot more vulnerable to pikes than axes.
Elven army in prologue:
In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Thranduil's army appearance in the Prologue seems forced: did he just march his entire army to help, only to turn around on the mere sight of the Dragon? How did he learn of the impending Dragon attack to be able to assemble and march his host so swiftly? And if he did not intend to help at all, why bring the army in the first place? Then, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies puts it into perspective: he always intended to reclaim what he deemed rightfully his from the Dwarves by force, he just choose the timing poorly and had the misfortune to arrive just behind the rampaging Dragon. Helping the refugees was never in question, but since the treasures were lost, there was no point in attacking them either.
Alternately, the elven army was there as a warning to Smaug not to push his luck too far, by attacking the elves next. Yes, their army just lined up and glared at the dragon rather than challenging him - so long as he's not turning their own forest into charcoal, they won't try to stop him from assaulting the neighbors - but its presence probably helped remind the dragon that the elves may have had a few Black Arrows in their stockpiles too, and are generally better shots than men or dwarves.
While it's a shame we never get to hear a full length rendition of Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold in the movie, the prologue to An Unexpected Journey contains several visual nods to individual lines within the song.
The older dwarves, especially Balin and Dori, seem to be a bit Literal-Minded in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. But then you remember that Khuzdul, not Westron, is their first language and older dwarves who have not lived among Men for as long as the younger ones might not pick up on figures of speech as easily.
Tolkien described Mirkwood elves as more rustic and closer to nature, something Thranduil's father wanted to return to. A point is made out of them being less disciplined and not as well armed as the Noldor at the battle of the Last Alliance in which Thranduil barey escaped with his life after his father got himself and his entire host killed. Yet in the Hobbit movies they show excellent military discipline and sport armor that would have fit even the Feanorian Noldor who were the most "civilized" elves when it comes to crafting and forging. Thranduil learned his lesson in military armament and tactics... that he's still being unwise by playing isolationist is another matter.
In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Bard asks the townspeople where the Master of Lake-town is. One of them says that he is "halfway down the Anduin by now". Of course, people that have read the books will know that this is a geographical error, as the Great River Anduin is on the West side of Mirkwood while Lake-town and the Long Lake are on the East side. However, this does unintentionally bring forth a sense of realism to the story; Can you really expect an entire town of people that have lived all their lives in an impoverished fishing settlement and have probably never traveled far from their homes to know where everything is? Just because they live in Middle-earth doesn't automatically make all of them experts in its geography.
Either that, or the townsperson in question is just being snarky, like a Real Life person in the U.S. mocking the cowardice of someone who's just run off in fear by saying they're probably halfway to Brazil by now.
Thranduil's use of a Megaloceros (Irish elk) as a battle-steed parallels how the Mûmakil and "great beasts" from The Return of the King were based on Palaeoloxodon antiquus and Megacerops respectively. Thranduil's throne is itself constructed from Megaloceros antler-racks, either from seasonally-shed antlers gathered from the forest or from the racks of the many previous mounts he's doubtless outlived.
Why do the Nazgul look so different in the third film? Aside from Rule of Cool, Everyone in that scene (3 Wizards, 2 High Elves (One of which was born in Valinor), and Sauron himself) can perceive what the Nine really look like: Fallen Kings and Warriors of Men. No need for disguises or cloaks.
In the book, Bilbo has two well-defined sides to his personality: the Tookish side, eager to see the larger world and have adventures and the Baggins side, wanting nothing more than to be back in the comfort of Bag End. Now, what other Hobbit Ringbearer suffered from a personality split? Had things turn out differently, Bilbo could have suffered from the same schizophrenia as Sméagol/Gollum.
Bit of a cross with Fridge Brilliance: In Desolation of Smaug, Bilbo charged at and viciously killed one of the Mirkwood spiders because it touched the One Ring with its leg. He fairly growled, "Mine," in a deeper, strange voice (with a Slasher Smile, to boot). But hold on a second. Who corrupted the Rings into giving its owner infinite greed? Sauron. What creature is also characterized by Greed and has a permanent Slasher Smile? Smaug. Both are voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, with very dark, deep and monstrous tones (also on this side of psychotic). So it would be natural that a Bilbo under the thralls of the One Ring would sound like Sauron and/or Smaug (also coupled with Evil Sounds Deep) rather than his higher vocal inflections.
Also a bit of a cross with Fridge Brilliance: what other hobbit to we know of who viciously attacked a Giant Spider and (possibly) killed it despite formerly not being aggressive at all? Sam attacking Shelob might come to mind, the huge difference is is why: Shelob almost killed Frodo at that point, which made Sam fly into a rage huge enough that the orcs witnessing the aftermath were convinced that there was a mighty Elven warrior on the loose in Cirith Ungol.
Bofur getting too drunk to make the boat out of Laketown is funny at the time, but think about the implications. If he'd left with the others, Fíli would be the only candidate to go out and find kingsfoil, leaving only two dwarves at the house when the orcs attacked, one past his prime and one incapacitated. Bard's kids probably owe their lives to that dwarf drinking himself silly.
If Bilbo and Gandalf had burned up in the trees, Orcs would have found the One Ring and one of the Three.