How to Train Your Dragon 2, like its predecessor, is not concerned with pop-culture spoofiness or all-around goofiness. Instead, it is all about the storytelling, and every element that is worth recommending about it comes through in said storytelling.
Now that Hiccup (Jay Baruchel, using his nasally whine to precise effect) has convinced his father and the rest of his Viking village to live in peace with their fire-breathing neighbors, he discovers that the surrounding areas are not equally progressive. The plot turns upon a dragon army controlled by the villainous Drago (a menacing Djimon Hounsou). The villainy could be more nuanced, but I always appreciate when a film like this one trusts its young target audience to handle the intensity, particularly when the heroes have to muster their courage to do just that.
Ultimately, HTTYD2 is a sort of throwback, insofar as it is a simple tale told well. It is most winning with the care placed on its details, with subtly effective animation (dragon Toothless is especially expressive) and strong vocal performances all around – the characters who are meant to be kind of annoying are not too overbearing, while the best performance comes from a hardly recognizable Cate Blanchett (as Hiccup’s previously presumed-dead mother), the weight of so many emotions imbued in her voice.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Movie Review – B
Jeff Malone is a voracious entertainment consumer and entertainment creator. He currently resides in New York City, where he is working on a Master’s in Media Studies at The New School. In addition to his pieces on TMRzoo.com, you can check out his blog (jmunney.wordpress.com), where he provides regular coverage of Community and Saturday Night Live, as well as other television, film, music, and the rest of pop culture.