I keep hearing that The Desolation of Smaug is slightly better than An Unexpected Journey. First, I don't agree. But really, who cares? Both films are unnecessary. I actually found this installment far less enjoyable than the first, and a waste of my time. I walked into the film stressed about finals, searching for some escapism, and found very little. You know what you're getting into with a new Hobbit film, all the same old stuff. However this time, it felt like Jackson didn't take the time to properly establish the stakes, or why anything was happening. It seemed like in the writing/editing processes they thought to themselves: "Oh what does it matter? They need to get from A to B while being chased, and there needs to be some monster." They rarely gave me a reason to care, or understand why things were happening.
It's certainly not bad, but very disappointing. Proceed with caution.