I am a huge Tolkien fan, and The Hobbit is the one book to rule them all. In this book, Tolkien poured all his love, devotion to his children, and obsession with English folklore. But Peter Jackson's Hobbit isn't Tolkien's, and that's okay. This one truth you must accept or all that follows won't really be that special or wondrous.
Tolkien is notorious for his lack of meaningful female characters, despite the amazing Eowyn. It's all heroic men doing awesome things. But this doesn't make for as much fun for folks who want a kick-ass girl whooping up on some orcsies. Enter Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly, who was created by Peter Jackson to add a bit more gender diversity. I was one of the Neck-Bearded fan-boys that raged against this addition, mainly because I remember Liv Tyler's Arwen, and that wasn't good at all. But boy, was I wrong.
Tauriel is what you get when you mix up Miranda Otto's “Witch-King Slaying” Eowyn with Liv Tyler's “Too Pretty to Act” Arwen. Tauriel is the captain of the guard of the Kingdom of Mirkwood, formally Greenwood. The sad thing is that she is a Sylvan elf, not a High Elf. (There is a very long, Tolkien-esque backstory there, but this is not the place for that.) And everything about her works. The character fits perfectly in the world that Jackson has created. This is all only improved upon when you read about how Evangeline Lilly actively rejects the infamous “butt pose” that some women of action are pressured into doing.
But Ol' Pete Jackson wasn't content with just a bad-ass female. He also wanted a romance sub-plot. Which again, brought the nerd rage. The Hobbit isn't about love. It's about Bilbo, damn it. But, it is The Hobbit, so I'll give it a chance. Enter Aidan Turner's Kili. The unfairly charming, dark haired rogue who is one of Thorin Oakenshield's two nephews.
Turner and Lilly have amazing chemistry when it comes to selling the romance and have the added benifit of making a movie focused primarily on action have some much needed character development. Their relationship isn't over sold and the triangle that is presented by it makes things even more interesting.
You see, Taureil has been Legolas's main squeeze since they were little (upon reflection, it is assumedby the author that he has a thing for gingers). Thranduil, lord of Mirkwood and Legolas's dad, will have none of that, though. High elves do not mix with Sylvan elves. Tauriel is ordered by her King that she is to not lead Legolas along, this of course creates a bit of tension when Tauriel must choose between Orc Hunting with the Sun-Fetching Prince of Mirkwood and the Dragon Hunting Kili.
Tauriel and Kili had me from the first, “Don't you think he is a little tall for a dwarf?” to the last “She walks in star-light.” It works, and it works in a way that I wished that we could have see Eowyn and Faramir work (my personal favorite Tolkien romance). Have you seen The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug yet? What did you think?