"Something is coming. Something you've never faced before."
I was a huge fan of the first film written and directed by Dean DeBlois thanks to its memorable characters and beautiful visuals. How to Train Your Dragon continues to be my favorite DreamWorks animated film, so I was highly anticipating this sequel. Although I really enjoyed this film, I felt a bit disappointed because I felt it wasn't up to par with the first one. I enjoyed the visuals and the characters once again, but I felt there was just too much action and too little character development. The film is very fast paced and I didn't find myself as absorbed by the story and the characters as I felt the first time. There are plenty of funny moments and kids will be satisfied with all the action scenes, but adults may get tired of the action overload at times. This is still a good film and perhaps one of the best animated films of the year as it does manage to keep the audience emotionally engaged and it has several funny scenes. The best thing about How to Train Your Dragon 2 is without a doubt the beautiful visuals which once again amazed me. It was a fun ride, but I would rather watch the first film over the sequel.
The film takes place five years after the original as we follow our hero, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) living peacefully amongst his people and dragons. He spends most of his time exploring new lands with his dragon, Toothless. His father, Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) continues to be the chieftain of Berk, but he plans on leaving Hiccup as his successor. Hiccup however, doesn't feel like he was meant to lead the people and would much rather prefer to continue exploring unknown lands. During one of his explorations, Hiccup and his friend Astrid (America Ferrera) run into some men who are trying to capture dragons. They both escape, but Hiccup decides to return and try to convince these men not to capture dragons but reasoning with them is pointless. A mysterious dragon rider named Valka (Cate Blanchett) shows up and takes Hiccup to a hidden island. He later discovers that Valka is his mother and that she has dedicated her life to saving dragons from Drago (Djimon Hounsou), a man dedicated to capturing and using them for his own personal gain. Together, and with the help of the rest of his friends from Berk they decide to stop Drago and his men before he starts another war and hurts more dragons.
Sequels usually suffer from not being as fresh as the original, and that is what happened here as the interesting premise from the first film was missing. I was already familiar with this world of vikings and dragons and the new characters didn't really resonate with me. It didn't help that it felt so fast paced either, but there were some strong emotional moments that I wasn't expecting from an animated sequel like this. There is some heart to this story allowing it not to rely entirely on the beautiful visuals, but I guess my expectations were just a bit too high because I wasn't blown away by this sequel as most people were. I really wasn't too engaged with the action, but I did enjoy the comedy.