How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review

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Posted June 16, 2014 by John Newby in Movies

How To Train Your Dragon was a wonderful surprise when it was released in 2010. The film combined big actors with a new and interesting story that wasn’t simply a sequel to Shrek. More importantly, How To Train Your Dragon introduced one of the most adorable and interesting characters in Toothless the Night Fury. How to Train Your Dragon was a fantastic first film, so I was overjoyed, albeit slightly nervous, when a sequel was announced. Would they screw up Toothless and Hiccup’s friendship? Would they introduce useless characters? Thankfully, the answer to both of those questions is a resounding “NO”.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is set five years after the first film, at a time when Hiccup’s life is about to drastically change. He spends his days exploring uncharted territories with Toothless and Astrid, but Hiccup’s father has bigger plans for him. Stoick tells Hiccup that it is time for him to become chief of the Vikings, which completely scares Hiccup and causes him to fly off in search of new lands to add to his ever-expanding map. However, Hiccup and Astrid run into some dragon trappers in the employ of Drago Bloodfist, an evil warlord who wants to conquer the world.

Fearing for his people and their dragons, Hiccup returns to his father with news of Drago, but Stoick’s response is not exactly what Hiccup expects. Stoick actually ran into Drago many years earlier, so news of his return sends Stoick into a panic and he locks down the entire Viking village so no one can enter or exit. Of course, Hiccup and Astrid ignore this and fly off to reason with Drago.

Drago is scary.

Drago is scary.

During this quest for Drago, Hiccup is separated from Astrid, but he and Toothless end up meeting a mysterious dragon rider who leads them to their home base. This rider teaches Hiccup many different things about the history of dragons, what makes them function, and how to unlock their full potential. Of course, Hiccup also teaches the dragon rider a few tricks of his own. During this time, Toothless also meets a new dragon that he desperately wants to impress and befriend, leading to some very funny exchanges.

Please be my friend.

Please be my friend.

Unfortunately, Hiccup’s time with the dragon rider is short-lived because Stoick and Gobbler show up to drag him home. This plan doesn’t work that well because they have an important run-in with Drago. This dangerous experience is when Hiccup learns more about Toothless and the other dragons and discovers that Drago is an evil person who must be stopped at all costs. As it is repeatedly explained to Hiccup, not everyone can be changed.

There are many reasons why How to Train Your Dragon 2 is superior to the first film, but the main reason is the character work. The original film introduced many characters like Ruffnut, Tuffnut, Fishlegs, and Snotlout, but they didn’t get much time on screen beyond a few short scenes. How to Train Your Dragon 2 actually spends part time following their pursuit of Hiccup and Stoick, so it was fantastic seeing how they functioned as a group in more stressful situations.

Eret and his crew.

Eret and his crew.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 does introduce new characters, but they all seem essential in some way. The dragon rider is extremely essential to the film for reasons I won’t specify, and the related dragons all provide important plot points. Drago Bloodfist is possibly the scariest animated villain ever created. Drago is one scary looking man, and he has no qualms about kidnapping, violence, or murder. In fact, his goal is to take over the world as violently as possible. Everything about Drago fits his description as an extremely evil man. One minor character is introduced in the form of Eret son of Eret—played very well by Kit Harington of Game of Thrones. At first, Eret seems like a random, fairly stupid character with no purpose, but his story ends up being quite entertaining. I was very happy that he was introduced, as was Ruffnut.

Dragon 2 also finds a way to make the dragons more entertaining and useful. Somehow, the dragons are more essential to the story than they were in the first film. Additionally, a majority of scenes focus on interactions happening front and center, but something is always going on behind the scene that also deserves attention. One such scene involves a more serious discussion between Hiccup and the dragon rider, but Toothless is roaming around in the background playing with his tail and harassing another dragon. However, these background interactions don’t take away from the main focus of the scene; they simply add some extra entertainment.

Quite frankly, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a phenomenal movie. The story is interesting, and it strikes a perfect balance between serious, sad, exciting, and hilarious. I found myself laughing hysterically during one scene and crying during another less than 10 minutes later, only to start laughing again. Dragon 2 finds a way to recapture the brilliance and magic that movies from my youth all seemed to have. In fact, I discussed Dragon 2 with Robert Steltenpohl, We the Nerdy’s video game editor, and his response was just as glowing.

“How to Train Your Dragon 2 contains the magic that only 90’s Disney animated films were able to create. It was truly a masterpiece that all ages can enjoy.”

I recommend that everyone drop what he or she are doing and go see How to Train Your Dragon 2. What? You haven’t seen the first film yet? Well, correct that and then go see How to Train Your Dragon 2. It has something that appeals to both children and adults. I saw the movie with my wife and a friend who brought her two sons, ages 5 and 17. All of them enjoyed the movie as much as I did.

You won’t be disappointed. Toothless guarantees it.

A fantastic scene.

A fantastic scene.


About the Author

John Newby

A random dude obsessed with coffee, blue heelers, and most nerdy things. Big fan of Star Wars, Borderlands, Arrow/Flash, and a whole lotta video games. The Saboteur is underrated, and Silverado is the best movie ever made.