The second cinematic installment in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is superior to its spectacular predecessor in every regard, thanks largely to a trio of spellbinding storylines. As the forces of evil grow stronger throughout Middle Earth, a now-separated fellowship of adventurers struggles to restore peace. While ring-bearer Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his faithful friend Sam (Sean Astin) endeavor to destroy a powerful magic ring, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), aided by a reborn Gandalf (Ian McKellen), help a besieged kingdom prepare for war. The epic nature of the source material makes for a somewhat complex three-hour saga, which shouldn’t bother ardent Tolkien-ites; however, those not well-versed in all things Hobbit might want to brush up by viewing the first film again before catching this one.
Kinsey Scale: 2 (Sam’s devotion to Frodo has been attributed by some literary scholars to homosexual attraction; as if to demonstrate it, here the two share a tender exchange that borders on romantic. The predominantly male cast features plenty of swarthy good lookers, including Mortenson, Bloom, David Wenham and Karl Urban. Out actor McKellan played gay director James Whale in Gods and Monsters.)