Peter Jackson‘s second journey to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth features Frodo and Sam (Elijah Wood and Mikey from The Goonies) continuing their perilous journey to Mordor (where they hope to destroy the One Ring) whilst seemingly everyone else takes part in the epic Battle of Helm’s Deep, where many a man and monster gets stabbed, impaled, crushed, decapitated, shot full of arrows, you name it. While The Two Towers doesn’t have the wow-wee novelty of its predecessor, The Fellowship of the Ring (look, it’s an actual real live-action Lord of the Rings movie!), it is the most expertly scripted, structured and staged of all the Rings movies, turning Tolkien’s sprawling and difficult middle child into a rousing fantasy yarn with one terrific set piece after another. Jackson is certainly not the world’s most subtle director — he has a bad habit of approaching every single character moment as if it were the emotional height of the story — but he’s nothing if not a confident and skillful showman; he was definitely born to bring this material to life. Andy Serkis steals the film with his captivating and oddly moving performance as the wretched Gollum, both the tale’s Shakespearean fool and, in some ways, tragic hero.