How to Train Your Dragon 2

Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: John Semley
    Jun 12, 2014
    100
    It’s not about the world catching up to understand poor, lonesome Hiccup. It’s about Hiccup catching up to the expectations of the world on his own.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jun 12, 2014
    100
    Gleeful and smart, funny and serious, this sequel surpasses the endearing original with gorgeous animation — a dragon Eden, a dragon scourge, an infinitude of dragons — and one stirring human encounter after another.
  3. Reviewed by: Bill Zwecker
    Jun 11, 2014
    100
    Not only does this second movie match the charm, wit, animation skill and intelligent storytelling of the original, I think it even exceeds it.
  4. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    May 16, 2014
    100
    This is a sequel that has its own story to tell and that gets right down to it, and it expands on the ideas from the first film, but in a way that tells a thematically satisfying and complete story. In other words, this is how franchises are supposed to work.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    May 16, 2014
    90
    If necessity is the mother of invention, then DreamWorks’ desire to extend the Dragon franchise has propelled the creative team in the most admirable of directions, resulting in what just may be the mother of all animated sequels.
  6. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    Jun 13, 2014
    88
    One of this year's true surprises, the superior animated sequel not only is infused with the same independent spirit and off-kilter aesthetic that enriched the original, it also deepens the first film's major themes.
  7. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Jun 12, 2014
    88
    A riveting, moving and beautifully animated film.
  8. Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    Jun 12, 2014
    88
    If anyone is concerned about the way women are presented on the big screen these days, just look at how an evolved male like Hiccup respectfully treats his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) and the portrayal of Blanchett’s Valka.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jun 12, 2014
    88
    It's thrilling, a soaring blend of 3D animation and spectacular storytelling that swerves daringly to honor the healing chaos of family, human and dragon.
  10. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jun 12, 2014
    88
    The movie offers just the right amount of spectacle.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jun 12, 2014
    88
    Looks, feels and flows like a real movie. It's better than the last few Pixar features, among other things, and from where I sit that includes "Toy Story 3."
  12. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Jun 13, 2014
    85
    Director Dean DeBlois has been saying this installment is the middle movie in a How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. It's clear that he took inspiration from the first Star Wars trilogy — not a bad model for breathing new life, and yes, a bit of fire, into one of Hollywood's more nuanced animated franchises.
  13. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jun 12, 2014
    83
    How to Train Your Dragon 2 is how to make a sequel, when it gets its head out of the clouds.
  14. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    Jul 7, 2014
    80
    At times terrifying and too tough for tinies, this is nevertheless a triumphant sequel that puts its faith in Hiccup and Toothless to find a way through dark times for man and dragon. Until we all get our own dragon to go flying with, the result is a story sufficiently thrilling to have us all airborne.
  15. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jun 12, 2014
    80
    What DeBlois has deepened in No. 2, is the film's emotional core. Though there are moments when the tension goes slack, the cast steps up to keep things afloat.
  16. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Jun 12, 2014
    80
    The rote hero/villain face-offs are exciting, but the film is in no hurry to fast-forward to them. DeBlois seems to have a real passion for this world, and like Hiccup, he seems much more interested in soaring through the clouds than in fighting on the ground.
  17. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jun 11, 2014
    80
    The look of the film is amazing. The animation, particularly when the dragons take flight, is seamless.
  18. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jun 11, 2014
    78
    I laughed, I cried, I longed for a pet dragon to call my own.
  19. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jun 13, 2014
    75
    Visually interesting but offers nothing groundbreaking. The animation is competent but not overwhelming. There's no moment of wonderment.
  20. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jun 12, 2014
    75
    Like its 2010 predecessor, it's one of the most gorgeous computer-animated kids' films you'll come across, and one of the few that uses 3-D smartly and effectively.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Jun 12, 2014
    75
    It is by far the sharpest-looking DreamWorks Animation film to date.
  22. Reviewed by: Jody Mitori
    Jun 12, 2014
    75
    Thankfully, all of the voice actors from the original return, including Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill and Craig Ferguson, and keep lightening the mood.
  23. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jun 11, 2014
    75
    Offers some stunningly beautiful sequences and an engaging, if at times quite dark, story line.
  24. Reviewed by: Joe McGovern
    Jun 11, 2014
    75
    While the original movie benefited from narrative simplicity and an admirable lack of villains, this one paints the screen with too many characters and frequent diversions from the main story, but nevertheless serves up a bountiful and sugary feast for the 3-D-bespectacled eyes.
  25. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Jun 13, 2014
    70
    Dragon 2 is at its best when it quiets down and dares to be intimate.
  26. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jun 12, 2014
    70
    Dragon 2 is considerably darker and more self-aware than its forerunner. Both films are speedier than the average animated blockbuster. In places, Dragon 2 is almost too fast to keep up with, and, in other places, it’s a little too dark, at least in 3-D.
  27. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jun 10, 2014
    70
    The plot is needlessly busy, and much of the action is more manic and indistinct. But How to Train Your Dragon 2 cuts deeper than the first picture — it will be particularly resonant for anyone who has ever worked with or adopted rescue animals — and there are a few sequences of cartoon grandeur.
  28. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    May 16, 2014
    70
    Clearly, these films are the work of people who love animals. More importantly though, going beyond the pat eco-conscious message that every kids’ film has to have, HTTYD2 touches on how complex the emotional bond between a person and an animal can be.
  29. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jun 11, 2014
    67
    There aren’t just more dragons, but more characters, more plot, more everything. The trade-off is that the charm of the original gets a little lost, a casualty of rapid-franchise expansion.
  30. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    May 16, 2014
    67
    After meandering for a while, the story kicks into gear in the third act, with a couple of legitimately shocking and well-executed developments that do pack a punch missing elsewhere in the film.
  31. Reviewed by: Tom Russo
    Jun 12, 2014
    63
    How to Train Your Dragon 2 recaptures those lyrical highs. But returning writer-director Dean DeBlois also aims to layer on more poignancy for Baruchel and his castmates to play. At points, we’re left feeling a little detached.
  32. 63
    A cartoon with better animation and livelier action, if fewer jokes. If there’s one thing these sweet-message/great flying sequence movies don’t need is fewer jokes.
  33. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    Jul 8, 2014
    60
    Hats off to Dreamworks for offering some bold surprises in a respectable sequel filled with moments of humour and emotion among its ample noise and movement.
  34. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jun 12, 2014
    60
    Younger kids looking for the cute connection between hesitant teen Hiccup and his loyal dragon, Toothless, may be stunned by the film’s violent tone. At the same time, it’s the unflinching edge that gives the film its unexpected depth.
  35. Reviewed by: David Calhoun
    Jun 12, 2014
    60
    This is a more rugged affair than, say, "Frozen," and any admirers of that film might find themselves yearning for a few more songs and a little less testosterone.
  36. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Jun 12, 2014
    60
    If there isn't enough to feel, at least there's a lot to look at. Thanks to the superb 3-D direction by DeBlois, we swoop through the air, whoosh down dragons’ tails, and juuust baaaarely squeeze into small crevices, but still, those experiences are only like being on a really great rollercoaster — they don't mean anything.
  37. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    May 16, 2014
    60
    The action sequences here are armrest-gripping fun, and you only wish DeBlois and his animators had been even more confident; held their shots even longer; allowed us to enjoy the whistle of the wind and the curve of the dragons’ flight paths without hurriedly cutting away to another angle, and another, and another. When the film flies, it soars.
  38. Reviewed by: Eric Henderson
    Jun 10, 2014
    50
    It has the core of a genuine crowd-pleaser, but unfortunately something bigger and more all-consuming keeps getting into its head.
  39. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    May 17, 2014
    50
    What's unfortunate is that Toothless is starring in a toothless story.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 566 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 129
  1. Jun 18, 2014
    2
    Bland, poorly executed, and without any of the charm of the original, How to Train Your Dragon 2 completely missed the mark. Is it darker?Bland, poorly executed, and without any of the charm of the original, How to Train Your Dragon 2 completely missed the mark. Is it darker? Sure. But does the moral ambiguity lead to interesting insight for you or your children? No, not really.

    What was the message of the film? Bad people do bad things and can convince good people to do bad things too? Dragons don't kill people, people kill people? It's okay to abandon your responsibilities?

    And the running gag of the love triangle fell completely flat.

    On the plus side, the 3d was well done.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 16, 2014
    10
    For starters, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” has a very mature and rich story that is filled with emotional and dramatic depth. It grows ourFor starters, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” has a very mature and rich story that is filled with emotional and dramatic depth. It grows our characters from the first film and really feels like a continuation of the series and not just some cash grab. We see how Berk has changed and how the lives of everyone on the island has become better, I really love how the film tackles darker subject matter like remorse, forgiveness, and redemption, while at the same time touching on themes of love and loss. The screenplay is filled with moments of pure heart and we really see the bond between Hiccup and Toothless expanded upon. Not only is this a great screenplay, but also Dreamworks’ best since the original “Shrek.”

    The characters and voice actors are perfect. I love how the characters have grown and their personalities have been enhanced. Hiccup takes a more proactive role in this film and we really see that he’s matured a lot from the first film. His and Toothless’ relationship is expanded on and it really is still the core emotional center of the film. The side characters like Astrid and Snotlout get more screen time this time around and they actually do more with the film. They aid with the comic relief to keep the movie a little lighter than the extremely dark tone that it’s going for. There are a few new characters introduced into the universe like Valka, Eret, and Drago Bludvist. Valka is a great character and she’s another great female addition to the roster. She has a great emotional ark and not only that, she is a strong character and a better dragon master than Hiccup that really holds her own. Eret is a nice addition to the cast as he is also comic relief, but also a interest side villain character. Drago is a fantastic villain and is really a cold hearted murderer. His method of mastering dragons really differs from Hiccups and its a great contrast that shows the different types of people that are in this world. I love how they build him up before actually revealing him.

    The animation and visuals are probably amongst the best I’ve seen from any CGI film to date. It is just breathtakingly gorgeous. The character’s movements are so fluid and each character has their own way of moving. What I found really impressive is the facial animation. There are so many intimate moments in this film that require no dialogue and we can sense exactly what the characters are thinking from their expressions. There is always something happening in the foreground as well as the background and it’s unlike anything that I’ve seen before in the medium. Characters could be taking in front of the camera, but in the background there could be an epic battle taking place. There is a lot to take in, but the director, Dean DeBlois, knows how to balance the visuals with well paced story. The layout and environment are also quite impressive. Every blade of grass, powder of snow, and water particles are just amazing to look at.

    The score from John Powell impresses again and really enhances the already great score of the series. It’s bombastic, epic, touching, and moving. There is something about the score that really makes the film so much better than it already is. I was literally left in tears because of the score and how beautiful it is.

    I’m gonna come out and say it. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is a MASTERPIECE amongst modern films and a revolution in animation. It is a film that is going to push animation further and allow the medium to be taken more seriously. For a major studio production, it goes to places that the medium has only thought of, but couldn’t really pull it off because of limitations set by studios and audiences alike. It is almost a near perfect film and I award it the highest 5/5 that I can.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 14, 2014
    4
    As soon as the movie started I could tell something was off. The only character that expressed any real emotion was Toothless, everyone elseAs soon as the movie started I could tell something was off. The only character that expressed any real emotion was Toothless, everyone else seemed so lifeless. During most of the dialogue the characters mouths moved and words came out, but they were so inexpressive it didn't feel like they were actually living characters with something to say. The entire film lacked in humor and had less charm than a single frame of a Disney or Pixar film. This was disappointing because I quite enjoyed the first one. Full Review »