I was never the biggest fan of the original How To Train Your Dragon. I liked the setting and themes but the third act always felt a bit flat. Still, I went into this film with high expectations, and I would say this movie met them.
One of the things this movie and the original do well is build an interesting world that feels like it has depth. It’s a very interesting idea to have dragons as friendly and commonplace, instead of rare and fearsome. There’s a lot of untapped potential there, and this movie dives deep into the possibilities.
I liked all the stuff with Hiccup’s mother. In particular I liked that they didn’t try to push any drama into it. It would’ve been easy to put some conflict there. To have one or more parties upset at the others. But instead everyone is just happy to be together again. Of course, it’s clear why they play it this way when Stoic dies. It creates a bigger emotional impact. But it was nice to see while it lasted.
The third act again felt a little weak. It was a little too short to me. But it was pretty solid, and overall I liked how it was handled.
Overall a good movie. Probably ranks in the lower end of my top five for this year. I’d recommend it even if you haven’t seen the first one. I don’t think there’s anything from the first one you really need to know to enjoy this one.