DreamWorks’ surprisingly awesome How to Train Your Dragon wrangled together colourful and imaginative creature designs, resonating themes surrounding parent-child angst and ignorance through fear, and top-class animation that made flying look so damn cool. The sequel doesn’t attempt to take things in a completely new direction, choosing instead to expand its world and characters with great success. Oh, and the flying sequences still look so damn cool. (I got goosebumps at one point.)
Hiccup is now 20 years old, wiser and more confident while maintaining his affectionate bond with both Toothless and Astrid – playfully demonstrated early on in one of the film’s most subtle and memorable scenes. He’s created new gadgets, new modes of flying and charted more territory, but still hasn’t discovered a sense of who he is. That all changes when he happens upon his estranged mother, whose long absence from society has turned her into a sort-of cool crazy cat lady – but with dragons. The pair’s rocky relationship feels light in comparison to the original’s father-son conflict, but she’s an extremely well-realised character nonetheless.
A new threat comes in the form of Drago, a chest-thumping man mountain who looks to dominate everything by making a dragon army and shouting an awful lot. He’s a fairly one-note villain – conquering his fears by being fearsome is all there is to him – but it’s in service of teaching its young male audience an important lesson in masculinity: trust is more powerful than control.
‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ Movie Times (also in 3D)