Fly High And Soar Through The Heavens With ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ (Movie Review)

How To Train Your Dragon 2While I tend to be a very impatient fellow who’s always wanting something else as fast as it can be handed to me, there are some things worth the wait.  There are such things as the perfect film.  Lightning can surely strike the same place twice.  And for those reasons and so many more, that’s why were gathered here today.  We’re here today to discuss my favorite film of 2014 thus far, How To Train Your Dragon 2.  Quite frankly, I don’t care if I ruin the rest of the review by bestowing my feelings upon you this early within.  How To Train Your Dragon 2 was about as perfect as they come in my opinion, a film the whole family (young and old) can rally behind and truly enjoy.  The filmmakers broke the mold when they crafted the first one in 2010 and this second one is “the Holy Grail” or The Empire Strikes Back of which all sequels should strive to live up to.  It really doesn’t get any simpler than this.  Now that the origin story was told some four years ago, there’s a whole new world to explore within How To Train Your Dragon 2 and let me assure you, the stakes have never been higher.

I originally wrote about the first film some four years ago here.  I was blown away by both the moving story and huge heart the film had, so much so that I completely forgot I was even watching an animated film.  For me, it captured one of the fondest memories of my childhood, that untouchable bond and connection between a boy and his best friend, in this case a dragon, akin to the likes of ET and Elliot’s love for each other so many years ago in 1982.  In my opinion, nothing has ever came closer to magic of ET than How To Train Your Dragon.  It was pure box office candy to me in 2010 and quite honestly, something I never saw coming.  So to say I have been waiting a long time for this eventual sequel would be like saying I have to take a pee every morning when I get up.  Those two things are unavoidable in life!  And even though I’ve been anxiously waiting to go on another magical adventure with Hiccup and Toothless for four years now I couldn’t have been more hesitant either.  Let’s face it, unless you’re Jaws 2, Temple of Doom, The Dark Knight, Aliens or even The Terminator 2, sequels don’t have a really great track record of living up to the expectations set by their predecessors.  But I’m here to tell you today that you can forgo all that hogwash and have no regrets, not even one, because How To Train Your Dragon 2 is the real deal, the Empire Strikes Back of the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy (although I recently heard rumors of a fourth film in the pipeline).  Everything I loved about the original film is back, bigger, bolder and sometimes even better.  Hold onto your hats folks.  These dragons soar!

This time out of the gate, the DreamWorks Animation film is being distributed by 20th Century Fox.  It’s also once again based loosely on the book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell.  It was written and directed by Dean DeBlois, who helmed the previous one.  Returning to their original roles in the star-studded voice cast are Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller and Kristen Wiig.  This time around we are also greeted with the likes of newcomers Kit Harrington, Cate Blanchett and Djimon Hounsou.  So with just those names thrown at you alone I think you can say you got a pretty impressive and talented cast wouldn’t you say so?

Our story resumes about five years after the events in the first film.  If you are thinking about strolling into How To Train Your Dragon 2 without ever seeing the first one, I highly encourage you to change your thought process for three main reasons.  You’d be missing out on something really special and endearing.  Don’t you want to know everything that transpired in the first film so you’re not lost at times with references and history in this one?  And third, why the hell wouldn’t you want to see the first movie?  Are you an idiot?!  Alright, let’s get back to the topic on hand, the plot of the flick.

We are quickly re-introduced to the viking land of Berk where Hiccup (Baruchel), our narrator so to speak, recaps how everything changed five years ago and how his people and dragons peacefully and harmoniously co-exist.  It seems like everyone practically has their own dragon.  They even ride them too.  They also plan sporting events around them with participation from the dragons (think of Harry Potter and Quidditch).  So in other words, I guess you can say that if you’re not keen on dragons, then Berk is not the place for you.  They’re everywhere you look!  And yeah, compared to how the inhabitants of Berk initially hated and wanted to kill every dragon in the first film, things are completely different this time around.  However, what’s not different is that of the character of Hiccup.  He still has his best friend, Toothless the dragon (a Night Fury), by his side at all times, but he’s quickly becoming a man at twenty years of age and is expected to be his dad’s successor, the ruler over everyone in Berk.  That doesn’t sit well with Hiccup.  He doesn’t consider himself a leader like that.  His curiosity still gets the very best of him and he seeks out new places to explore and map out until he eventually finds himself in the middle of a larger conflict, one that he never knew existed, one between humans and dragons again.  However, this time it’s on a much larger scale.  Believe me on that.  And once again, Hiccup does something stupid.  He defies his dad’s orders and a whole new, bigger and quite scarier/darker adventure is born.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is How To Train Your Dragon 2.  And like it’s predecessor, it is magnificent!

So as I made mention up above, familiar faces are abound here.  The storyline continues in a linear fashion for everyone with the exception of two of the characters, Hiccup and his father, Stoick the Vast (Butler), as they are confronted with people and events from their past.  Those people and events are pivotal and integral to our story here so make sure you pay close attention to relationships, tragedies, etc.  Like the first film, the magic bond between Hiccup and Toothless is back, and quite honestly, the same can be said for all of the returning characters and their respective dragon friends.  However, it’s the bond between Hiccup and Toothless that made me salaciously want to return here and the filmmakers waste no time in the beginning of this feature reminding you what’s so special and endearing about their friendship as you literally soar with the pair in more fantastical ways than you can remember from the first film.  I sat there in awe every time the duo took flight.  Of course there’s also danger, peril, romance and unfortunately even deadly consequences to deal with here.  What I love about the first film and what I continue to adore about this one is that the filmmakers aren’t afraid to take risks and go down dark corridors with such scary moments as amputations, frightening monsters and moments and as I just mentioned, and even death.  How To train Your Dragon 2 is every bit a tale like Empire Strikes Back from the villainous side to Return of the Jedi where Hiccup must avenge and overcome every obstacle in his way to eventually become the man he was destined to be.  So yeah, I guess you can call this tale a serious rites of passage one done right!  How can they ever top this in the third one?  I have no fricking idea.  But you can bet you sweet a$$ behind that I’m excitedly looking forward to it!  My expectations are amped and after these two previous outings rightfully so.

There’s really nothing more I can say that I have not said already up above.  To me, How To Train Your Dragon 2 is the perfect film in every which way you slice and dice it.  It has it all.  The little ones may frighten easy from the dark subject matter and scarier moments, but there’s a reason why it’s rated PG.  That stands for parental guidance.  If you think your little ones are up to the occasion, then by all means your butts NEED to be in a theater chair this weekend.  I promise you.  You’ll enjoy it every bit as much as your kid will, maybe even more so.  And who knows, it may just bring out the inner child in you that you thought was gone all these years.  However, make no mistake.  This is a war movie and like all wars they have casualties.  Make sure you bring the Kleenex for your female dates.  They’ll be needing them.  Bu most importantly, enjoy filmmaking at its absolute finest.  Prepare to soar and fly high with How To Train Your Dragon 2.  Enjoy!

How To train Your Dragon 2 Movie Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

1 Response to “Fly High And Soar Through The Heavens With ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ (Movie Review)”

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