I re-watched the LOTR movies this weekend, and it gave me a little more perspective on the Hobbbit. One of the strongest aspects of the LOTR movies is that each ends on an emotional high point following the conclusion of an important story arc (Boromir, Helms Deep). I think Jackson tried to do this with the first Hobbit with the whole charging Azog thing, but the reality is that it was an obviously articifical moment that just did not feel like a satisfying ending.
That's the problem with having three movies. Sure, none has to provide a complete story arc, but a movie is better if it comes to a narrative and emotional resolution of some sort, even if you know there's a lot more to come. I thought Empire taught us this a long time ago. Anyway, with three movies, you have to come up with two fairly arbitrary ending points for the movies while telling a story that was not designed that way.
In contrast, the Fellowship ends with the death of Bormomir and the breaking of the Fellowship (which is slightly different from the books, of course). The storylines split from there on, and it seems like a natural ending point. The Two Towers ends as Helms Deep has ended and the Hobbits are turning toward Mordor. While this break point is not as good as in the books, it is still satisfying. The Eagle rescue in the Hobbit did not seem like it was wrapping up any major plotlines at all.
That said, I liked the first Hobbit well enough. I thought the acting was quite good, I appreciated the use of dialogue straight from the book, and I thought the Riddles scene was excellent. I liked the prologue, and I thought, as always, the envisoning of Middle Earth was excellent. I even liked the less omnious tone, as this is completely consistent with the book, and with the fact that Bilbo is narrating the story (sorta). I of course, as a purist, disapprove of random changes from the book, esecially Azog and the unnecessary tweaking of the troll scene.
In the end, though, I sorta feel like someone started telling me a story but then had to stop in the middle, rather than someone telling me the first part of a three-part story. I think the three movies idea was not a good one.