HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2:
A BLAST OF FIRE BREATHING FUN THAT OUTSHINES ITS PREDECESSOR!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
Hiccup, Toothless, and his group of dragon flying friends in How to Train Your Dragon 2
Everyone’s favorite Vikings and dragons are back in the highly anticipated sequel to the 2010 animated megahit, How to Train Your Dragon. Like the first film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 has creative dragons, beautiful animation, exhilarating high flying action and 3D scenes, and enough humor and emotional drama to please both kids and adults, and honestly I don’t think it’s as good as the first film, I think it might even be a little better.
Don’t get me wrong, I adored the first one and it left a lasting impression on me, but I felt this one had more dragon action and a better plot to boot.
The colorful cast of Vikings from the first film return like Jay Baruchel (This is the End, Robocop) as awkward Hiccup, the young boy who trained a dragon for the first time, Gerard Butler (300) as his father, the mighty Stoick, American Ferrara as his tough girlfriend, Astrid, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) as nerdy, Fishlegs, Jonah Hill (Superbad, 21 Jump Street) as showoff, Snotlout, and T.J. Miller (Cloverfield, Unstoppable) and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, Despicable Me 2, Paul) as fighting-happy siblings, Tuffnut and Ruffnut.
Some time after the events of How to Train Your Dragon, we find all the Vikings on the island of Berk getting along very well with their new dragons that live with them in peace. Meanwhile the hero of Berk and the first Viking to ever train a dragon, Hiccup is testing out some new skills and dragon equipment with his pet dragon and best friend, Toothless the Night Fury.
Everything seems to be going great in Berk, that is until Hiccup meets a person he has never met before but was very close to him; his long lost mother, Valka (voiced by Cate Blanchett-Blue Jasmine). It turns out that Valka has been rescuing dragons back when Hiccup was a baby and she wanted to solve the grudge between Vikings and dragons peacefully, but we all know how Vikings think, they either kill or be killed.
So after some good old mother and son bonding, Hiccup and the rest of the Berk Vikings find out that an old enemy has returned, the dragon controlling madman known as Drago Bloodfist (voiced by Djimon Hounsou-Hotel Rwanda, Amistad, In America) who plans to control all the dragons and form an army to rule the world.
So it’s up to Hiccup, Toothless, Valka, Stoick, and the rest of the Vikings and their dragons to battle Drago’s army and save their home before it’s too late.
Overall, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a very welcoming sequel, it does everything that a good sequel is supposed to do, work on the material from the predecessor and make it better, and this one succeeded.
There is more dragon action this time around, and it’s an absolute joy ride if you’re watching it in 3D. Like the first film, the 3D is spectacular and you feel immersed into this world they created and during an action and flying scene, you feel like you’re really flying on the dragons, more 3D films need to do this.
Besides the action, the character development has really improved over the last time, granted the first film had strong character development but I don’t think there’s a comparison between this one.
Hiccup and his mother share an incredibly strong chemistry, and it’s just as touching and heartwarming as Hiccup and Toothless bonding together for the first time back in the last film.
You want to see them get to know each other and make it through the terrible situation that is rising in Berk.
If you enjoyed the first film a lot (I’m sure that’s pretty much all of you) then you will most likely enjoy the sequel just as much, if not more. With more dragons and high-flying action, comedy, emotional drama, creativity that’s through the roof, and extremely likable characters, this is a summer blockbuster that must be experienced and a very strong sequel, it’s up there with Shrek 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2 as one of the best sequels from DreamWorks and hopefully the formula will keep going forward with How to Train Your Dragon 3.