May 8 2019, 9:16pm
it has to do 2 things:
In order for a fight scene to work
1. Be realistic within the context of the setting (Helm's Deep did this well), and
2. You have to be personally vested in the characters and the outcome.
In LOTR, we are vested in the success of the Fellowship members, where if they won we'd be thrilled and relieved and if they lost, we'd be devastated. We are also vested in the outcome as well, because we know the stakes are very, very high, and if even one major fight fails, then we know that the world will descend into darkness and ALL those characters we care about will die.
Additionally, with few points (the Army of the Dead being a little TOO effective at literally wiping the field clean-would have liked for that to take more than three seconds), LOTR did well at making fight scenes very realistic. It was gritty, it was hard, and people died-including some we cared about (like Theoden, Boromir, Gandalf, or sitting there wondering if Eowyn was going to survive, or seeing the numbers of elves and Haldir and all the younger boys fall and the army falling further and further back and wondering of Legolas, Aragorn or Gimli were going to join them).
The two big LOTR battles (and the Amon Hen fight) especially had us sitting there wondering if our heroes were going to make it out alive. Also, the suicide ride Faramir took after his father ripped him a new one for no good reason also leaves us on the edge of our seats because we sense what the riders sense- that this is sheer suicide, and they're charging straight into a ruthless massacre and we do not know in that moment if Faramir is going to survive or not, and HE thinks he's going to die, but he does it anyway.
Just like how Frodo and Sam are pretty darn sure that the world is going to end and all will come to ruin, and they still go anyway. They fight on to Mt. Doom because they said they would do it, and they're going to even if all fails and it makes no difference.
LOTR fights accomplished the two essential rules for fight scenes above- realistic, and made the audience vested in the outcome and the characters who must achieve their goals, or perish in the process.
There was little doubt that our heroes' lives in LOTR were in mortal danger many times, which is often absent in superhero movies because you sit there and go "Well, the baddies are putting up a good fight but come on-our heroes have out of this world superpowers so of course they're going to win", which causes them to be incredibly boring (unless they're comically funny, which makes them slightly tolerable).
If you don't care all that much about the character and they aren't convincingly in any mortal danger during the fight, then the fight scene is completely pointless, IMHO.
My writing and novels:
My Hobbit Fanfiction
My historical novel print and kindle version
My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders
You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.
Happy reading everyone!
(This post was edited by Cirashala on May 8 2019, 9:16pm)