I wasn’t crazy about the decision to make a book half the size of one of the books from Lord of the Rings into 3 movies as I knew it would really take some stretching and adding to make it work. It reminded me of when George Lucas admitted to adding the refinery scene in at the end of Episode 2.
I’ve come to the point where I realize that when a movie is close to the books it is a bonus, not a requirement. I’ve come to accept that they are two tellings of one story and they can be decidedly different and that is ok. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter taught me that lesson. The book was a great and fairly heady story whereas the movie was straight action. Both were good though the book is one of my all time favorites. They each told a similar story but in different ways.
With that in mind, I can accept the extra characters being added into the Hobbit lore and the extra visuals to spruce things up. The Hobbit was good and the Desolation of Smaug seems to be building on that success, even if it is straying from the original text.