I actually went and saw this in the theater when it first came out. I was so excited to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. I enjoyed the first one so very, very much. It was such a beautiful movie and a wonderful story about friendship and being who you are. And even the soundtrack was fantastic. So my expectations for How to Train Your Dragon 2 were understandably high. If you haven’t seen the movie and you don’t want massive plot spoilers, you should probably stop reading this review.
The opening scenes with the flight around Berk and the unbelievably beautiful animation took my breath away. When Hiccup and Toothless went for their solo flights, it was one of those things I wished beyond everything else that I could experience. Free flight with my best friend? I can’t imagine a more powerful and amazing series of emotional events.
And then when Hiccup and Toothless are messing around with each other on the cliff and Astrid lands and starts mocking Hiccup, I laughed. That’s exactly what a strong, healthy relationship is like. It’s being supportive and it’s being able to laugh at and with each other. I miss that in my life right now – having someone to laugh with and at me. That’s probably one of the reasons that this movie was kind of hard for me at some points. I spend a lot of time laughing at myself these days because someone else used to laugh at me and with me.
When Astrid was talking about Hiccup being Chieftain and what a great honor it would be, and she talks about all the sacrifices he’s going to have to make, it really struck me that he wouldn’t make a good Chieftain, but that Astrid would. In order to become Chieftain, Hiccup is going to have to give up everything that makes him who he is. I immediately saw that somehow, he was going to wind up being the Chieftain and that just seemed so unfair.
I thought Ruffnut’s romantic pursuit of Eret was hilarious. What a complete role-reversal! She spends the first part of the movie being disgusted by Snotlout and Fishlegs and their romantic pursuit of her and then she sees Eret and the tables are suddenly turned. I thought it was a fantastic way to add both humor and the concept that women can find men sexy and attractive. This is going to sound kind of shallow, but it was very amusing to me to see a guy, even if it’s just an animated one, being objectified.
I also enjoyed Eret’s story arch. He started out as a dragon trapper, just trying to do his job, but eventually was shown another way, a way of kindness. He changed because it was the right thing to do and that was really motivational to me.
I did very much enjoy the first meetings of Stoick and Valka. She was expecting him to yell and shout and scream at her for not being there, but the only thing he’s thinking and the only thing he tells her is that she’s as beautiful now as the day he lost her. This, again, is a clear demonstration to me of what love is supposed to be like. When you have someone who you love that much, the transgressions of the past are meaningless compared to seeing them alive and healthy and whole. When you care about someone, when you truly love someone, you love them for everything they are, everything they’ve been, and everything they ever will be – their strengths, their flaws, their mistakes, their beauty – everything that makes them who they are.
While I was extremely happy with the storyline of Hiccup’s mother, I was a little disappointed that she’d been fighting against Drago for twenty years and she lasts all of five seconds when actually pitted against him. Granted, most of her tactics probably revolved around hit-and-run operations and she probably didn’t actually learn hand-to-hand combat. It just seemed as though the dragons who were her friends gave up their freedom so easily to the Alpha.
Stoick’s funeral was greatly moving. He was brave and a good Viking and he died saving his son and his family, and his family includes the dragons. He died a true hero, and that speaks to me strongly. As usual, the soundtrack here did a great job of adding to the plot and the story, as also of providing that extra emotional kick.
The bits of humor scattered throughout the movie were clever enough and so well-placed that I found myself laughing out loud periodically. I definitely laughed when the young dragon riders of Berk were forced to travel via baby dragon and how Hiccup said that the very young don’t do what they’re told. This amused me greatly, because I still don’t do what I’m told, and I’m not very young anymore 🙂
My only real disappointment with this movie was that Hiccup wound up being made Chieftain at the end. It’s not that he didn’t deserve it, it’s just that he didn’t want it. I don’t understand why Astrid couldn’t have been made Chieftain and Hiccup Lord of the Dragons or something like that, to best combine each of their strengths into a stronger whole.
Overall, I’d have to rate the movie as a high three. I really wanted it to be a four, but even watching it a second time, I’m still disappointed that Hiccup ended up in a position that he didn’t really want. I am very glad I own it and I know that I will watch it repeatedly.