Minor Spoilers, full review below the “drawing”

HHTYD2 Review

I liked the original How to Train Your Dragon, so I went to see the sequel with a combination of excitement and apprehension. With sequels in general it’s hard to see how something good can be made any better, and just as often as not they aren’t. HTTYD2, perhaps because in addition to being its own movie it is also a set up for the third movie, does not disappoint. There were bits here and there that could have done better perhaps, but what was great about this movie is that they didn’t come to mind until after the credits had rolled and I was on my way home from the theater. There was no  “ugh, really?” moment. It looks good, it’s enjoyable, and perhaps best of all is that it’s grown up enough to reach a wide audience.

Story-wise this is still a coming of age story for Hiccup, and to an extent Toothless as well, even with the events of the first movie practically cementing their place in Berk’s society. Before Hiccup or even the viewers find out something is wrong he’s already dealing with expectations from his father that show that the hero doesn’t have everything go their way once they’re recognized as such. This movie is also very much in the business of world building, to the point that Hiccup and Toothless are actually mapping the surrounding lands (a daunting task considering that the first movie was confined to two small islands), but also laying foundations for things to come. From Astrid as Stoic’s future daughter-in-law (which seems obvious but it’s only mentioned the once) to John Snow mentioning other Dragon Riders between threats from the villain to the way the movie actually ends there are a bunch of little threads I fully expect to see tugged at in 2016 or whenever DreamWorks is ready to shut up and take my money again.

If I had to nitpick there would only be two things I could really pluck out as “less than satisfactory,” and one of them isn’t really mine. The first would be Hiccup and Astrid’s relationship. It’s obviously stable enough that if they’re not actually engaged it’s believed strongly enough they will be that Stoic doesn’t mind shouting it in front of the whole village, but other than a moment the two of them share near the beginning (which actually turns into a comedic moment before trouble rears its head) and a kiss to close out the movie that echoes how the first movie closed it’s not shown much at all. I actually don’t know how they could have improved it without making the rest of the movie suffer, maybe adding her to the family drama that ensues could have worked, but it was on my mind and this is my site so I figured “might as well mention it.”

The second thing, which I don’t agree with but I’ve seen some internet dwellers mention, is pacing. I believe they think it’s too fast paced because they’re thinking about the first movie too much. The first movie takes place over a few weeks and even the final battle has a slow build up. This movie takes place in about a week (I would actually say four days would be the full time period, at most), which is going to require a faster pace. And even if you don’t subscribe to that notion, to Hiccup things happened so fast it would at least seem that way to him. Things happen to him really fast in this movie, and when the world is going boom boom boom around you the only option is to make the best decision you can before the next boom comes crashing down. There was no time to think, or mourn, or even be consoled by his girlfriend and buddies, and if you think they should have done all that in the midst of what was basically war then I think you’re watching the wrong movie.

In the end should you watch How to Train Your Dragon 2? If you like the first then the answer is a resounding yes, if you didn’t then you’re just a bad person. Go watch and enjoy.