The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ★★★★★

"and sometimes you didn't want to know the end… because how could the end be happy?"

upon rewatch, my favorite of the trilogy. imo Two Towers most successfully develops the vital idea of tolkien's books, about the overwhelming physical toll and consuming nature of evil, and the choice to act courageously in spite of it—the sense of fear and loss that permeate every victory ("the young perish... the old linger"), the thin, grotesque form of gollum, a constant reminder of frodo's path forward into the abyss, a marsh of rotting corpses forgotten by time ("war will make corpses of us all") and fresh ones of friend and foe alike the last thing you see, the vast vistas of natural beauty, each in their own way containing an implicit freedom, threatened by the shadowy, desolate, unnatural mordor. most notable however are the micro moments of connection , literal and otherwise, close-ups of bodies and hands exchanging invaluable items, holding friends in need, outstretched, waiting for lovers, embracing tools and extensions of duty, all sharing a common cause... the collective free people, the earth itself and the universe, they may not last or even get along, but they all reject you.