How To Train Your Dragon 2 boldly takes the franchise in a new direction, taking place five years after the 2010 original. The DreamWorks film is one of the best films of the Summer so far, and features new elements that ultimately make this a must-see attraction for anyone remotely interested in film.
The animation is quite superb, besting recent DWA entries The Croods and Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Things get off to a kinetic start, with the first ten and fifteen minutes an ecstatic thrill ride. And, unlike most films, the sequel is never boring, providing spectacle and concentrated character development, while also expanding the world we learned about in the first installment, and even suggests what is to come near the end.
This second entry follows Hiccup, who now has the ability to explore new worlds, as he stumbles upon a plan that could wipe out dragons completely. To prevent a potential war, he is determined to change Drago's mind, the main villain, that dragons are loving and kind.
There is this particular sequence where Drago and his men attack the Dragon Haven that is spectacular and is a game-changer in terms of action sequences in animated films. This sequence does include a jaw-dropping standoff between the two Alpha Dragons, who look like a cross between a Red Mist and a Boneknapper, but much, much bigger.
I did find that Hiccup gets the "Professor X" treatment here--a voice over speech repeated at the beginning and end of the film.
The franchise can obviously be taken in a few different directions, and it seems as if DreamWorks wants to milk it as much as they can, planning up to Film 4 at this point. But, who could blame them?
By the end of the film, a lesson is learned, new characters have been introduced, the main characters have grown and developed, and the core of the series remains intact.