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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2018 epic fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro and Joss Whedon and based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings. It is the second installment in The Lord of the Rings film series, preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring (2017) and concluding with The Return of the King (2018).

Continuing the plot of The Fellowship of the Ring, the film intercuts three storylines. Frodo (Thomas Sangster) and Sam (Peter Kay) continue their journey towards Mordor to destroy the One Ring, meeting and joined by Gollum (Andy Serkis), the ring's former owner. Aragorn (Hugh Jackman), Legolas (Henry Cavill), and Gimli (Peter Dinklage) come to the war-torn nation of Rohan and are reunited with the resurrected Gandalf (Ian McKellen), before fighting at the Battle of Helm's Deep. Merry (Anton Yelchin) and Pippin (Freddie Highmore) escape capture, meet Treebeard (Morgan Freeman) the Ent, and help to plan an attack on Isengard.


Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) gives his life in battle against the Balrog, giving the Fellowship of the Ring time to escape from the Mines of Moria. Weeks later, Frodo Baggins (Thomas Sangster) and Samwise Gamgee (Peter Kay) continue their journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring and, with it, the Dark Lord Sauron. One night, they are attacked by the ring's former owner Gollum (Andy Serkis). The pair capture Gollum, but Frodo takes pity on him, understanding the burden of the Ring, and he persuades Gollum to guide them to Mordor. Sam immediately distrusts Gollum on sight and warns Frodo that Gollum will betray them.

In Rohan, after the death of Boromir (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Azog, Aragorn (Hugh Jackman), Legolas (Henry Cavill) and Gimli (Peter Dinklage) pursue the Uruk-hai who have taken Merry (Anton Yelchin) and Pippin (Freddie Highmore) prisoner. Meanwhile, Rohan's King Théoden (Donald Sutherland) has been entranced and physically weakened by Gríma Wormtongue (Brad Dourif), who is secretly in the service of Saruman the White (Christopher Lee). Saruman has his Orcs and Wild Men of Dunland lay siege to the lands. Théoden's nephew Éomer (Jeremy Renner) accuses Gríma of being a spy; Gríma has him banished for undermining him. Éomer travels to the countryside to gather the remaining men of the Rohirrim, and his army later ambushes and kills the group of Uruk-hai and Orcs holding Merry and Pippin. Merry and Pippin flee into Fangorn Forest and meet Treebeard (Morgan Freeman), the oldest of the Ents.

Frodo, Sam and Gollum traverse the Dead Marshes, evading a Nazgûl along the way, but upon reaching the Black Gate, they find it closed and guarded by Orcs. Gollum convinces the pair that he will lead them to an unguarded entrance. After learning of Éomer's ambush, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli discover Merry and Pippin's trail. The trio are confronted by Gandalf, reborn as Gandalf the White, who joins the trio as they journey to Edoras. After arriving, they free Théoden from Gríma's spell, and inform the king of his son Théodred's death. Théoden moves his people to the stronghold Helm's Deep for safety. Fearing Helm's Deep will not survive, Gandalf leaves to find Éomer. Gríma flees to Orthanc and informs Saruman of a weakness in the outer wall of Helm's Deep, and Saruman dispatches his vast army to the stronghold, with the intent of wiping out all of Rohan and Aragorn with them.

Meanwhile, Gollum struggles with his loyalty to Frodo and his consuming need for the Ring. When Sam and Frodo are captured by Rangers of Ithilien, Frodo reveals Gollum's presence to spare his life; Gollum nevertheless feels betrayed, and begins plotting against Frodo. As Théoden's forces travel to Helm's Deep, they are attacked by Saruman's Warg riders and Aragorn is thrown from a cliff to his apparent death in a raging river. In Rivendell, Elrond (Hugo Weaving) convinces his daughter Arwen (Keira Knightley) to abandon her love for Aragorn and leave Middle-earth with her fellow Elves, pointing out that even if Sauron is defeated, Aragorn will still succumb to old age. Meanwhile, Éowyn (Amy Acker), Théoden's niece, nurtures a growing affection for Aragorn.

Learning that Frodo has the Ring, the Rangers' captain, Faramir (Dominic West), who is also Boromir's brother, and his assistant, Madril (Doug Jones) orders that it be sent to Gondor. In Rohan, the barely-alive Aragorn washes up on the river bank. He makes his way to Helm's Deep and warns Théoden that he has seen Saruman's army headed for the fortress. Théoden gathers his men to fight against Saruman's army of Uruk-hai, alongside a battalion of Elves led by Haldir who were sent to re-enforce the men of Rohan. In Fangorn Forest, Merry, Pippin, Treebeard and other Ents hold a council to decide on the role of the Ents in the war with Saruman.

The battle of Helm's Deep begins between the Uruk-hai and Rohirrim with Aragorn and his companions. Explosives are used against the weakness in the wall, allowing the Uruk-hai to breach the fortress. In Fangorn, Treebeard and the other Ents initially refuse to get involved in the war until Pippin shows them that Saruman has decimated the forest in order to fuel his campaign. Enraged, Treebeard leads the Ents in attacking Isengard to exact vengeance on Saruman. Aragorn leads Théoden, Legolas and the remaining Rohirrim to attack the Uruk-hai, allowing the Rohirrim's women and children to escape into the mountains. Gandalf appears, accompanied by Éomer and his men, and the combined forces cause the Uruk-hai to flee into Fangorn, where the Ents and their Huorn allies destroy them. At Isengard, the Ents defeat the Uruk-hai and break the river dam, drowning the surviving Orc defenders, flooding Isengard, and stranding Saruman in his tower.

Faramir and Madril has the Hobbits taken to the war-torn Osgiliath, where they are attacked by Orcs led by a Nazgûl. Frodo succumbs to the Ring's influence and attacks Sam, but comes to his senses when Sam tearfully reminds him of their friendship. The Nazgûl is defeated and flees. Faramir, understanding the danger of the Ring, frees the Hobbits and sends them on their journey, joined by Gollum. Gandalf remarks that Sauron will seek retribution for Saruman's defeat, stating that hope now rests with Frodo and Sam. At that same moment, Gollum vows to reclaim the Ring by having "her" kill Frodo and Sam.