It's an ok movie, but just like the books, LOTR is just far better.
Verdict: enjoyable movie, not an epic like LOTR.
Besides, the decision to make a 9 hour trilogy is just an epic fail. LOTR had enough material to fill 10 hours or even more, The Hobbit does not. What we get is extremely long and drawn out plots arcs as a result.
Now let's start by saying that I will need to see this again, because I had a problem with my contact lens in my right eye, probably amplified by 3D (I hate 3D), so I spent a huge part of the film rubbing my eye, nursing it, taking my 3D glasses off, taking my lens off and putting it on again... Basically that did not improve my feeling of immersion in the movie
But other wise, I agree with you. While LOTR could easily have provided material for 4 movies, The Hobbit barely provides enough for 2, let alone 3 films.
I had tried very hard to have low expectations, because I knew it would look a little like "recycling", and that 10 years later, the LOTR magic would not operate in the same way. So in the end, I was not disappointed. I cannot say I'm crazy about this film, it's nowhere close to being as good as LOTR (and even LOTR had quite a lot of flaws, to be honest, but I loved the movies all the same). However, it was good enough.
What I liked : Martin Freeman as Bilbo; the beginning of the film when the dwarves invade Bilbo's house; the scene with Gollum (my favourite); the soundtrack (I was wondering how it would turn out, and I really like how they mixed old themes with a new one which is actually surprisingly good).
What I didn't like : It does feel like "recycling", and I believe the story really suffers from a lack of charismatic secondary characters. For me, Thorin is really a poor man's Aragorn, it's a very stereotypical character with very little depth, and apart from trying to make him look "majestic", nothing at all makes him charismatic. The other characters are not particularly interesting, apart from Gollum of course, and Gandalf but we already know Gandalf well enough.
So my advice would be : go and see it, but do no expect another LOTR.