I personally loved the first How To Train Your Dragon, It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. I recently convinced my wife to watch the first one and then brought her along to see the second one. The second one left both her and I speechless. As we left the theater and headed to the car, I kept thinking how amazing that movie was. My heart was all over the place and my mind running 100 mph. It was definitely better than the first one and I will give you 5 reasons why.
Reason #1: A Whole New World
The first movie was rooted in the island of Berk, and mostly focused on the dragons that were attacking the island. This movie takes us further and deeper into Dragon lore. Something I could not wait to see! We learn more about the different species of dragons & also the different abilities. We also get to see more of the world our heroes inhabit, everything from the icy cold mountains to the luscious green forests. It’s crazy how beautiful they make this world. We also learn what the alpha is truly capable of, as well as what happens when good dragons are controlled by bad people. Toothless even gains new abilities and scale-things. We also get to see some new gadgets that Hiccup invented, such as his flame sword. I thought the idea was brilliant and when he introduced it in the movie, I thought to myself; "man that’s so practical." I could see how someone would create something like that if these dragons actually existed.
Reason #2: A Romance Rekindled
The first movie, while it emphasized Hiccup and Astrid’s relationship to a small extent. Really does a great job displaying the relationship between Hiccup’s parents. I know I wasn’t the only one who got chills in the movie theater, when Stoick tells his wife “You’re as beautiful as the day I lost you." It was at that point my wife began to cry. As I watched it, I noticed Hiccup’s mother was afraid of how Stoick would respond. She was in so much fear, she was already asking for a due “punishment." And Stoick, being the man he is, spoke gently to her soul. Comforting her and reminding her of what true love really looks like. This is what melts a frozen heart (yes that was a Frozen reference).
Reason #3: A Dive into the past
One of the great and probably craziest things in this movie was the introduction of Hiccup’s mother. She was thought to be killed off in the first one, well turns out she was just taken away and learned to train dragons and lead them. The one thing I felt was awesome in the first one was the true sense of parent-child relating. Hiccup and Stoick had real issues, Stoick felt sorry for his son and tried to help him figure out who he was. Hiccup felt misunderstood and was trying to figure out who he was, even if it wasn’t who his father wanted him to be. These are real issues parents and children face. Now throw a mom, that was thought to be dead for years, into the mix and you’ve got yourself some interesting relating. It was beautiful to see the way Hiccup’s mom behaved towards him. The best for me, was when she said "A mother never forgets." I nearly began to cry, because for some reason that thought of a mother’s love resonated deeply. My mom and I don’t have a good relationship, so this part hit home on many bases.
Reason #4: A Friendship Tested & Deepened
Hiccup and Toothless are even better friends than when we left them in the first movie. Time has past now and it would appear that they almost speak the same language. They understand each other, and even play wrestle! lol I think the best part about this movie in comparison to the first is that, while the first one saw the friendship established. The second movie displays the friendship tested. After Toothless blasted Stoick (Killing him) Hiccup was in shock and commanded Toothless to go away. My wife began to cry again, and as she cried. I leaned over and asked why, and she said that Toothless was sorry. Even my wife in all her innocence wanted Toothless to be forgiven and for him and Hiccup to be better. I think the reason for this is because we see ourselves in the characters. This image of Toothless under the influence of something/someone evil doing something bad, and then being cast away, after truly repenting of it. Just doesn’t sit well. It feels like being cut at the heart. This movie did a great job of testing the limits of Hiccup’s and toothless’ relationship. I think this made the ending that much more impactful. Because you got to witness the true friendship they have.
Reason #5: A Heartfelt Loss
The final reason I think this one was better than the first, was the true sense of loss. In the first movie, nothing was really lost but Hiccup’s leg. In this movie however the loss is felt even greater, with Stoick being killed. Not only was he killed though, he was killed by Toothless. This adds so much more pain to the movie. I felt this made the film a bit more mature than the original because it was real loss, caused by a true friend. I think the most shocking part for me was that Stoick had just gotten his wife back. They were going to be a family, everything was supposed to be good. What kept running through my mind was what Stoick said to his wife “I thought I’d have to die before I’d get to do that dance with you again." He indeed died but he got to dance with the woman he loved one last time, and that’s what settled my heart with his death.
Side-note, I also noticed that Hiccup and Toothless seem to be transitioning together throughout these movies, in the first Toothless loses his back left tail, then Hiccup loses his left leg. And in this instalment, Hiccup becomes the new chief of Berk while Toothless becomes the new alpha. I like how they have them transitioning through life together and also I loved finding out that Toothless was the same age as Hiccup. That just made it feel much more right.