Many times sequels just don’t live up to the glory of the first film. But DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 is different. The film not only lives up the legacy of the original, but also organically evolves the Dragons world that we’ve come to love.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up five years after the first film in the town of Berk, where dragons have fully integrated into the community. Stoic the Vast is ready to make his son, Hiccup, chief, but Hiccup is a bit reluctant to take on that huge responsibility. Instead, Hiccup wants to explore the surrounding islands with his trusty dragon Toothless. On one of their excursions, they discover a band of dragon trappers led by a rough and touch man named Eret. After narrowly escaping, Hiccup also comes across a dragon sanctuary, run by a mysterious dragon master named Valka. But all of these new revelations get thrown to the wayside when they discover that a dragon lord named Drago is heading to take over Berk, threatening to destroy the villiage and its newfound peaceful existence.
Visually, this movie is a delight. The colors, textures, and overall world that DreamWorks created is incredible. There are many ice and snow landscapes and, I must say, the snow looks so realistic that it looks even better than the snow in Frozen. Every little detail has been poured and slaved over, which really augments the overall feel of the picture. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is one of the best looking animated films ever released and will not disappoint.
The characters have aged up a bit since the first film and the new designs are flawless. They are perfectly executed and it’s as if the characters were always meant to be this way. I especially loved Hiccups new design and many of the guys with their spotty teenage beards.
The storytelling in the first film was so smooth and well done and this film yet again masterfully tells the narrative, most likely due to the expertise of the returning director and screenwriter Dean DeBlois. In How to Train Your Dragon 2, there are rarely any slow or dull moments.
Hiccup and Toothless are yet again the charming stars of the film, but the other riders of Berk still have their moments to shine, instead of becoming throwaway background characters. The surprising breakout star was Ruffnut, who is hilarious, funny and really steals the show every time she’s on camera. New characters such as Valka, Eret and Drago all neatly fit into this film, while not pushing old favorites to the side. The film creates cohesively adds to the world of the first film, while continuing to introduce us to new locations and characters.
The movie has a lot of action and an equal amount of heart. One moment you will be throwing your arms up in the air cheering and other times you’ll be crying harder than the people seeing The Fault in Our Stars in the theatre next to you. In the first film, the pivotal emotional moment was when Hiccup lost his leg. It seemed like nothing could top that, but trust me, there are two big ones that further show why this is one of the best franchises to come out of DreamWorks.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a fun, emotional, exciting ride that will be loved by both adults and kids alike. It’s a movie that is worth seeing multiple times in theatres and no doubt will be playing on repeat in households across the country once it’s released on home media. It’s by far the best animated film of the year and must-see this summer.