If any of you guys read my review for the first movie, then you’ll know I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan. I was mostly bored and never felt any danger to the story. That’s not the case this time around. How To Train Your Dragon 2 isn’t just better than the first in pretty much every way, it might just be one of my favourite sequels of all time.
I had quite a few problems with the first movie, to begin with, I never felt there was any danger for Hiccup. That one feat the character has to overcome. 2 brings us Drago Bludvist, a ferocious antagonist who leads an army of dragons. At the sheer mention of Drago’s name, it sends shivers down Hiccups father, Stoick the Vast. The roles are now reversed, the one charging into battle is Hiccup, with Stoick wanting to retreat back to their home base. Already, we have a brilliant set up for a villain that I couldn’t wait to see.
I couldn’t help but love Hiccup in this movie, most animated features don’t tend to do time skips but How To Train Your Dragon 2 sets us five years into the future. Through those five years, Hiccup has changed so much, not just in looks but he also has more courage, battle wits and leadership. The first time we see Hiccup we notice he’s missing a leg, from the very beginning there was an aspect of this character I wanted to explore.
Another thing I didn’t really like in the first movie was the animation, I soon realised I was pretty much alone with this remark but after seeing 2 I have no idea what I was talking about. The animation here is so fluid, every location is beautiful and is brought to life by great direction and artwork. The visuals are so rich, easily surpassing the first. This movie also reminded me of ‘Empire Strikes Back’ just because of how darker it is when compared to its predecessor. It goes into some dark roots that I simply wasn’t expecting, sadly it never goes all the way with this but I do understand it’s still a kids movie so they had to pull back eventually. That’s not to say the movie ever gets too serious, there’s still a bunch of comedic moments, with Hiccups friends being most of the movies comedians. For the most part, I found them funny, much funnier than the first, I also never found them irritating much as I used too. Their chemistry is also really good, I can really feel that these characters have been together for years and fought many battles.
The film introduces a new character in the form of Hiccups mother, I really liked Hiccups reaction to seeing his mother, it felt real and genuine. One of the only issues I have with the movie is I felt they could have developed her character a little more. Perhaps delving into her backstory just a little more so than they did. Just as in the first Dragon, the music here is mesmerising. Much more instrumental based, where the first movie went for more pop songs. Every piece of music fits the scene brilliantly, perfectly portraying the emotions and Hiccup as a character. The ending really made me excited to finally go see Hidden World, which I’ll be seeing this week.
Overall, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a perfect representative of how sequels should be made. It’s better than its predecessor in every way shape and form. As mentioned at the start of this review, I might go so far as to say it’s one of the best sequels of all time. The animation is stunning and is brought to life by brilliant directing. Hiccup and Toothless’s relationship is just as good as the first, perhaps even stronger. Toothless is just as cute, the side characters are funnier and less irritating than before. The villain has a presence and a good backstory to along with it. How To Train Your Dragon 2 is ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of cartoon sequels.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (8.5/10)
Director: Dean DeBlois
Runtime: 102 Minutes