When I heard that there was going to be a sequel to How to Train Your Dragon, I was giddy with excitement. I enjoyed the first movie and was could not wait to see what they did with this next chapter in the story.
We return to Berk five years after the end of the last movie. The village had adapted to the new arrangement of dragons and vikings living together in peace. The island is shown with all the inhabitants having dragons as part of their lives. They range from the crazy dragon lady with a ton of little dragons to dragons taking part in work throughout the island. The opening action is a dragon race. We get to watch as Astrid wins the match as the men vie for the affections Ruffnutt despite her disdain for the whole affair. Hiccup is off exploring the world and adding to his map.
What follows is the discovery of a new threat to Berk. Astrid and Hiccup find an encampment that has been devastated by ice. Investigating this they discover that there are other dragon riders and that there is ship that is hunting dragons to give to Drago for his dragon army. The two easily escape the dragon hunters and return to tell the village of this new threat. The village goes into lock-down mode as they have dealt with this man before and he is mad and dangerous. Despite this, Hiccup and the rest of the group head out to try and convince Drago that people and dragons can live together in peace. He has done this once, so why can he not do it again.
I enjoyed this movie. It starts off strong with the main characters, Hiccup and Toothless, being disabled, and treat it as a non-issue. We get to see how both have adapted to their problems and how they have both excelled and where they still have problems. In addition to this, it takes the expected tropes of tension between father and son or boyfriend and girlfriend and tosses them out the window. Hiccup isn’t at the race at the opening of the movie. This is noted by someone in the crowd and then they movie on as this something to be expected. We also have Astrid, Hiccup’s girlfriend, taking part in this race later find him out exploring. There are no recriminations or questions of infidelity. This is how Hiccup is and she accepts it and he accepts that she took part in the race and won. It makes me root for their relationship and hope for it to continue. There are other things that they do to turn convention on it’s head but to mention them would spoil a major part of the movie.
As before, I love the characters and watching them come more into their own was delightful. The dragons also provide excellent comedic relief throughout the movie, you just have to pay attention to the background. They variety of dragons is also a stunning as well and continues to be something that I like about both movies. They aren’t the dragons that you would expect and not all of them are beauties. They all are loved and lovable in their own way which is a powerful statement that is easily overlooked in this movie and the first.
Like all good animated movies, this is a movie for kids that adults can love as well. I have seen it twice and want to go out and pick up a Toothless action figure now. So, if you get a chance, go see it on the big screen.
You won’t be disappointed.