After bringing the dragons and Vikings together, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is poised to take over the role of chief from his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler). Hiccup, however, would rather explore the world with Toothless. He and Toothless are flying to uncharted areas, mapping out the world as they find it.
One day, they come across a group of dragon trappers led by Eret (Kit Harington). They are capturing dragons to deliver to Drago Bloodfist (Djimon Hounsou), who is building a dragon army. Drago plans to use his army to take over the world.
Rather than follow his father’s advice of barricading the island of Berk against Drago’s impending attack, Hiccup wants to change Drago’s mind about dragons. Against his Stoick’s command, Hiccup puts his plan into action.
While trying to make his way to Drago, Hiccup is captured by a mysterious dragon thief. Astrid (America Ferrera), Hiccup’s girlfriend, and the younger dragon riders set forth on a mission to rescue Hiccup and Toothless before it is too late.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is one of the few sequels that live up to the standards set by its predecessor. It doesn’t try to top the first movie. Rather, it nicely picks up the story five years later and continues a narrative that actually tells a good story.
Loaded with an amazing cast, the characters meld well together. No one stands out as being a standout, as either the star of the film or as someone who doesn’t belong. Each actor brings their own personality to their character. It is an excellent ensemble.
The story, while having a few moments that are predictable, moves along at a good pace. It never feels rushed or lagging. And, again, it is a narrative that makes sense with the series. It has all the charm and humor of the first film.
Visually, it is exactly what you would expect from DreamWorks. The world presented is well-crafted. We are treated to all new kinds of dragons. Swarms of them, in fact. There are even mega-dragons, the “Alphas,” capable of controlling the smaller dragons. The battle scenes with the dragons may get a little busy, but it is easy enough to keep track of who and what is important, and in no way takes away from the film.
Not content on riding the coattails of the first How to Train Your Dragon, the sequel meets or exceeds all expectations set on it. Definitely a good choice for Best Animated Picture. And for a family movie night.