How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2

  • A fitting follow-up to the excellent How To Train Your Dragon (2010), this sequel is visually intoxicating and emotionally interesting.
  • Even if it attempts to squeeze two feature-worthy storylines into a single film.
  • The first involves Valga (Cate Blanchett) and could have, maybe even should have, been rife with multifaceted internal conflict, the likes of which we see in the franchise’s original.
  • The second story arc, focusing on Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou), is far more explosive. Which is one reason it is tonally shifted from the first movie. Another reason? Drago is incomplex, villainous without provocation, senselessly evil, and thereby a Bad Guy.
  • He makes the sequel much darker than the original.
  • And also than itself. Therein is How To Train Your Dragon 2’s biggest flaw; the Valga and Drago stories are mismatched. The first could have been pulled directly from the original film, while the second, a battle between Good and Evil, is previously foreign to the franchise. To do either as well as he handled the first film, writer/director Dean Debois would have needed to delve deeply into both, showing their effects on his central characters and developing slow change within them.
  • Instead,ย the filmmaker saddles himself with two complex, and mostly disconnected, plot lines, and therefore has little choice but to rush through both.
  • When Stoick (Gerard Butler) first sees Valga, he all but instantly begins a musical interlude that rapidly resolves potential conflict.
  • When Drago forces Toothless into undesired action, Valga makes a speech or two and Hiccup (Jay Baruchel, still perfect) is ready to continue.
  • The trend persists. In How to Train Your Dragon 2, Debois speeds through character-developing sequences, a fact that renders the film rushed.
  • Yet, impressively, this sequel remains good.
  • The animation is jaw-dropping.
  • The voice actors rival Toy Story’s.
  • Debois ensures appeal to all audiences.
  • Many sequences, especially those involving Ruffnut (Kristin Wiig), are laugh-out-loud funny.
  • The franchise’s themes are still universally applicable.
  • And so forth. Despite too much story and too little character, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is exciting and interesting, making it a welcome, if not perfect, compliment to its predecessor.
  • Final Grade: B

18 thoughts on “How to Train Your Dragon 2

    • Thanks.

      I think the first considerably better, actually. Honestly, I think the first more grown up, too. The character development and emotion-rife content in the first are more in line with adult taste than they are here. This is good, but it’s now a fairly typical action adventure, instead of a character centric story.

  1. I just watched it yesterday ๐Ÿ™‚
    I really enjoyed it. very awesome movie like the first one.
    I too would give it a B, but it was well done and emotional too. I cried a bit, hehe
    Great review ๐Ÿ™‚

    • From me a B is definitely still a good score. But you tend to be a bit more generous in your grading tendencies, so I would probably expect you’ll score a bit higher.

      Look forward to reading your review.

  2. “The voice actors rival Toy Storyโ€™s” I think so too! In fact, if they keep up the quality of the first two movies on the 3rd one, it’d rival that as the best animated feature trilogy, too. I enjoyed this thoroughly, but I think the first movie is still slightly better overall.

    • Yeah, I think the first is better, as well. The emotions and characters were more of a focus in the original, making it an exiting character-driven drama. Whereas this one is basically a standard action adventure.

      Therein is also who I wouldn’t put the franchise quite on the level of Toy Story. But it is very, very good.

      • I think they tried to do too much in the second movie, so it just seemed less focused. I’m glad you still get the scenes of Hiccup and Toothless which are always my favorites. I can see you thinking that Toy Story is in a whole different league as this one but I REALLY think this one is not too far off, I think the character development is quite strong here, I feel that Hiccup & Toothless are in many ways similar to Woody and Buzz.

      • I agree, to a point. I think there is great potential for strong character development, but because – like you said – they try to tell too much story, they rush through it instead of developing it.

  3. I did feel that this considerably expanded on the world that was introduced in the first. One thing that few have talked about is the troubling development involving Toothless. I’ll remian vague but It was shocking. I loved the film but I had mixed feelings about that plot twist.

    • Yeah, that event was certainly emotional. But I think it should have been even more so; a single speech from a new character should not make everyone ready to continue, you know? The characters made the first movie awesome. I wish they’d stayed the focus in this one.

      The article to which you linked on your site said Debois’ original plan was to make Valga the second flick’s primary antagonist. I wish he’d stuck to that. Then, made Drago the third movie’s villain. In that case, both stories could have had a full feature devoted just to them, and the characters could have been given full treatment in both.

  4. Pretty much agree with all of this; it’s good film, but doesn’t approach the greatness of the first one, largely because of the lack of a truly engaging emotional core. Wish they’d gone ahead with the plan (as mentioned up-thread) to make Valka the antagonist.

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