Movie Review: “How to Train Your Dragon 2” – Flies to New Heights

Written by Caitlin Cooper July 18, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2

“How to Train Your Dragon” was a hit with audiences due to its charm, comedy, and plethora of dragons. Thankfully, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is even better than the first. There’s more action, the tone is darker, and the comedy is better. Surprisingly, the screenplay is also more complex as it takes on more serious topics in the lives of the main characters.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2” follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon friend Toothless as they search a new island they’ve discovered on one of their flights. Their own home of Berk has changed since the last film, with the clan accepting – and even loving – the dragons in their midst. Hiccup is growing up, and his father wants him to become the next chief. At its heart this movie is a coming-of-age story, but with the added tension of a war over dragons. Enter Drago, an enemy Viking who’s creating a dragon army with the help of a captured alpha ice dragon. Hiccup, Toothless, and the gang must fight for their dragons and for their clan against this new enemy.

“I’m trying to protect our dragons, and stop a war!”

Something that surprised me about the film is how dark the tone was. While “How to Train Your Dragon” had a dark climax, this film takes it further. There wasn’t that much of a threat in the previous film, just the Vikings’ ignorance and then the one big baddie dragon that lived in the mountain. Here there’s a clear enemy, and the stakes are higher. The whole clan and their dragon friends are under threat from someone who would use the creatures to gain much power in the world. Since the threat in “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is a much larger and stronger one, that means there’s a plethora of action scenes showcasing the brutality the enemy will go to in order to succeed. Hiccup and Toothless are tasked to save everyone even when the outcome looks pretty bleak against such a formidable foe.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

One of the best parts of the “How to Train Your Dragon” movies is the top-notch comedy. Toothless and the other dragons are a huge part of this despite having no lines. The comedy is laugh-out-loud funny, and just as charming as the first film. It helps that the cast is full of great comedians like Craig Ferguson (Gobber), and Kristin Wiig (Ruffnut). New to the cast is Kit Harington who does pretty well with his character, Eret, a reformed dragon trapper.

“All this time you took after me.”

The biggest sub-plot introduced in “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is the introduction of Hiccup’s mother, Valka (Cate Blanchett), who was believed to be long gone. Their stories parallel one another in that they both came to realize that dragons aren’t creatures to be feared. Valka is a strong dragon rider, and so it’s no surprise that Hiccup is the way he is. Both don’t believe in themselves, and both punish themselves for their mistakes. Their relationship forms is one of the most important in the film, as both Hiccup and Valka grow as a result of their reunion.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

While Toothless mostly aids in the comedic aspect, his story-line is more fleshed out compared to the first film, and his story nicely parallels that of Hiccup. Both must learn to become strong leaders. This can only be achieved by supporting one another, and by teaming up against the great evil threatening their lives. Also, we learn much more about the cute but fierce dragon thanks to Valka’s expertise on the species. I’m glad the character was given more dimension this time around because it makes it more easy to emotionally invest in him.

Overall, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is an awesome movie. It did have a darker tone since there was a lot more at stake for our lovable characters, but it still had great moments of comedy and charm to balance it out. If you enjoyed the first film, you’ll enjoy this one all the more.

My Rating: 8/10

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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