I’ve been excited for How to Train Your Dragon 2 since the first movie was released back in 2010. After watching the first movie multiple times, downloading the soundtrack, buying the DVD the day it was released, getting all of my friends to watch it, and even buying a toy Toothless – it was supposed to be a Christmas gift for a friend, but don’t worry she got a better gift – let’s just say, I’ve been riding on that hype train for a while now.
Did How to Train Your Dragon 2 live up to the expectations and hype? Absolutely. From the initial moments, I knew it was going to be another outstanding movie and that everything was going to be okay.
The first scene follows Astrid (America Ferrera), Snotlout (Jonah Hill), Fishlegs, (Christoher Mintz-Plasse), and the twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut (Kristen Wiig and T.J. Miller) five years after the events of the first movie. They are all riding around Berk on their respective dragons. As they race around Berk, they’re grabbing sheep and throwing them into baskets as part of a new game. Stoick and Gobbler (Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson) are watching over and notice Hiccup isn’t there.
The initial scene was high flying, full of energy, and throughout most of the film, featured callbacks and references to the first film. The first scene did feature many of the original themes from the musical score, composed by John Powell, with some songs by Jonsi, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his score. After this, we finally got a glimpse of Hiccup (Jay Barachel) and Toothless flying off somewhere else away from Berk testing out Hiccup’s new flight suit. This first scene immediately sets the tone of How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Within 30 minutes, so many plot lines and characters have been introduced that my friend leans over to me and tells me exactly what I was thinking: “Wow, this is going crazy fast so far! What’s going to happen next?!” This brings up one of my few complaints; How To Train Your Dragon 2 is just a little too fast paced for the first half of the film. The second half was more evenly paced and definitely easier to get into. After how fast the beginning was, I thought they were going to leave the film on a cliffhanger before the third movie is released in 2016. Thankfully, it finished out in great fashion.
One thing I really enjoyed about the film were the references to the original film. The original score is present throughout a lot of the movie. There are also callbacks to the original through similar scenes, such as Toothless drawing with another dragon in the sand, the ‘This is Berk’ speech at the beginning and end of the film, quick flying scenes around larger dragons during the big final fight, and others. They’re fun to see if you were a big fan of the original and don’t get that nostalgic feeling that they’re repeating things from the first movie.
Another thing I noticed about this film is its’ two takes on the two sayings: “the pen is mightier than the sword” and “actions speak louder than words.” During the final fights, Hiccup stops all of his fighting and flying to try to reason with Drago. While he does have some good reasons, it’s an antagonist, so of course he isn’t going to listen. This is the “pen is mightier than the sword,” meaning; in this case the lesson is that words do have power. After that fails, Hiccup comes in and, well… I’m not going to spoil anything. But actions can speak louder than words.
Without going into too much of How to Train Your Dragon 2 to spoil it in this review, I loved it. I absolutely loved this film. There’s so many small things to look at throughout the film that catch your eye, that watching again with the friends is must. I plan on seeing it again with more of my friends to share in the excitement of this franchise.
Now, is it better than the first film? That’s a hard one to think about. The first film came out of nowhere, had so much excitement and adventure with a mature enough story to capture everyones’ hearts. This second film had a lot of hype, and I know the group I saw it with loved it. Comparing it to the first one almost seems unfair after how much praise the original received. It’s too hard to do. With that said, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is just as enjoyable as the first one with even more adventure added to it.