Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 351 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , , , , , , ,
  • Summary: It's been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island's new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Now, Hiccup and Toothless must unite to stand up for what they believe while recognizing that only together do they have the power to change the future of both men and dragons. Expand
  • Director: Dean DeBlois
  • Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Animation, Family
  • Rating: PG
  • Runtime: 102 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    May 17, 2014
    50
    What's unfortunate is that Toothless is starring in a toothless story.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 82
  2. Negative: 5 out of 82
  1. 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 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.
    Expand
  2. Jun 13, 2014
    10
    Amazing movie! I thought maybe the previews revealed too much but after seeing the movie NOT AT ALL. Not many sequels are better than its predecessor but HTTYD2 definitely exceeded all my expectations! It was hilarious, heartfelt, and kept the audience on the edge of their seats. The storyline was original and the soundtrack was beautiful. I recommend the movie to anyone of any age. You won't regret it! Expand
  3. Jun 13, 2014
    10
    How to Train Your Dragon 2 is an excellent sequel. It does what sequel should do. It takes its roots, expands them and doesn't rehash the previous film. Twists and surprises make this movie more of an adult experience than a kiddie one. Beautiful, emotional and dazzling, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the best animated film in years and puts some animated sequels to shame. Expand
  4. Jul 31, 2014
    9
    Well, we can't deny it to ourselves anymore. The gaping tundra of Winter is beyond us, and for that I say we are officially in the midst of the summer movie going season. Sequels, sequels, and more sequels are filling the gaps every weekend, 16 to be exact.
    Sooner or later, goodwill from post franchises are going to run out. This is not the case with the returning favorites of the beloved "How To Train Your Dragon". "Dragon" was a film nobody, not even myself, suspected of being the next best thing..but it was. A little film from Dreamworks Animation, that distinctly gave Pixar a run for their money. The animation was gorgeous, the story even more so. A voice cast that included Gerard Butler, Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson and Jonah Hill. One could perhaps argue that something is "missing" from this sequel, I would argue not.

    "How To Train Your Dragon 2" stands on its own, not as a sequel, but as an endearing story of hope, forgiveness, and courage. Our favorite characters are back in full swing. Taking place five years after the events in the first film. Hiccup (Baruchel) and his cohorts are all young adults now, serving as dragon riders in Berk. Who now are living peacefully among the towns people. The curiosity of Hiccup has grown immensely, and the world he thought he knew has opened up wider than he could ever imagine. Dealing with the added stress of being appointed his righteous father, Stoick (Gerard Butler) successor, and his tough as nails girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera). Hiccup's curiosity eventually gets him caught by a notorious dragon warrior, which eventually turns out to be his long lost mother Valka (Cate Blanchett). Hiccup then discovers the plans of an imminent attack by the ruthless Drago Bludvist, a dragon hunter who will stop at nothing until his army is complete.

    Furthermore, the main success here lies within the brilliant character development. I recently saw in an article by Entertainment Weekly in which they compared the characters, I saw a sluggish standing, dependent Hiccup being compared to a 20 year old, one legged and tough Hiccup, and to be honest I couldn't be more happier. As with time, it evidently changes everyone. While sure Hiccup and his friends are "growing facial hair", riding on the backs of dragons like it's nothing. Hiccup has become more than a sensational character to root for, rather a Luke Skywalker for this younger generation. We also can't have this film if not for the loveable mascot and poster child; Toothless. The silly, charming and fun Night Fury dragon, that stole our hearts back in 2008.

    Equally, the story is just as good, if not better, than the original. The first one had the added pressure of society accepting dragons. Now they have but, face a greater threat than before. In the form of Drago Bludvist, who's rip-roaring voice is brought to spectacular life by Djimon Hounsou. For a childrens film; his antics are a bit darker than most villains you would see. Younger children may be frightened by his overall appearance. However, from my standpoint, I felt he was a worthy adversary for our crew of heroes. A Darth Vader to Hiccup's Skywalker. I also enjoyed the new character Erin (voiced by Game Of Thrones own Kit Harrington).

    Of course, some will likely attest that the film's characters are a bit too harsh, or deafening. Some storybook concepts will likely have to be explained to some youngsters. There is an emotional integrity to be upheld here, and director Dean DeBois keeps that formula that made it's predecessor all the more credible. Including characters we care more about, then we have had before. I found little squabbles here and there of certain action set pieces that perhaps felt out of place. If speaking figuratively it never once took away from my fulfillment and satisfaction.

    Most sequels tend to overdo it, others just wreck it's potential franchise. The old saying as it goes "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". "How To Train Your Dragon 2" is an emotionally charged, and high flying adventure. The animation is breathtaking, and better than it has every been. I find it hard looking at this film as a sequel, partially because it's so well done that it stands on its own. Which in any sequel is rare. I can only imagine what the future has in store for our lovable band of characters. I do know one thing, "How To Train Your Dragon 2" falls in that 5 percent of sequels that actually builds on their predecessor.

    A

    By: Nate Adams

    Directed By: Dean DeBois
    Rated: PG
    Runtime: 108 mins
    Studio: Dreamworks Animation (Fox)
    Release Date: June 13th 2014

    Thanks for Stopping By ®
    Expand
  5. Jun 18, 2014
    9
    Story:
    Five years after the Viking village of Berk has made peace with the dragons, dragons now live amongst the villagers as working animals
    and companions. But when someone wants to control all the dragons, it's up to Hiccup and the gang to stop him. The film has been getting a TON of praise from critics, so much that I decided to finally begin reviewing animated films (Will eventually go to other genres). Whereas the 1st film's story revolved around Hiccup as he tries to earn the respect of his father and fellow villagers, along with developing a relationship with Toothless, the 2nd film focuses on Hiccup's family and the dangers that Drago Bludvist has on the dragons. To me, I don't see what the critics are talking about when it comes to the story being refreshing and original since it does have some problems. The story here is by-the-books: (To avoid as much spoilers as possible, I won't reveal anything important) Hiccup learns about Drago, Drago does evil things, Hiccup meets Drago and tries to solve the problem without violence, Drago does more evil things, Hiccup has to stop Drago in the end leading into a final action scene. The story here is nothing new and amazing as critics seem to say, and since this is one of those animated films that centers around its story and characters (as in their contributions to the plot) while also having a serious tone, having a cliched story actually hurts the film more than it would in something like Madagascar or Rio. In fact, the story in the 1st film to me felt better than here mostly because of Hiccup's great chemistry with some of the characters. Overall, the story is receiving more praise than it deserves. 6/10

    Animation:
    This is the film's biggest strength as the animation here is spectacular. The backgrounds look stunning, the textures are great, the character designs are well made, the environments vary from snowy mountains, to lush flora, to ice-y terrain, and Berk. Another impressive thing was the variety of dragons. There were at least 30 different kinds of dragons seen, and each one looks like they have their own unique feature that makes them special. You can easily make an encyclopedia on all the dragons here. But the most incredible thing about the animation were the action scenes, especially with some "Alpha" dragons fighting in the background. Definitely watch this movie in 3D or IMAX if you can. 10/10

    Characters and Comedy:
    As said, to me the 1st film made better use of the characters than here. I'll say that Hiccup's relationship with his father Stoick and his mother Valka make for some of the more heartwarming moments in the film. Dreamworks did add in some emotional scenes here as things happen to Hiccup, and it's great to see him change throughout the film because of those actions. His bond with Toothless also serves as another highlight to the film. His scenes with his family and Toothless are some of the best moments in the film. As for all the returning characters, they don't serve much of a purpose in the film outside of mere comic relief. I'm even disappointed that Dreamworks didn't expand Astrid and Hiccup's relationship seeing as how they're a couple now. Astrid just follows what all the side characters do now. As for the villain, Drago is your standard-dark dressing, eye-slashed, gritty-voiced villain who doesn't have an interesting backstory or goal. He wants to control all the dragons. So original. As for comedy, the returning side characters are mostly comic relief, so with them and Toothless, you'll find some nice comedy sprinkled here and there amidst all the action and conflicts. It's clear that Dreamworks focused more on Hiccup, his family, and Toothless more than their returning characters and villain. 7/10

    Sound:
    John Powell does an incredible job with this score incorporating a more "epic" fantasy feel to the film. The score ends up immersing you into this fictional world that Dreamworks created. They even added a song to the mix. It features Hiccup's mom and dad singing a song they hold dear to them, and it's a nice addition to an already incredible score. Oh, and the sound effects here are fine, especially in the action scenes. 10/10

    Acting and Casting:
    All the performances here are great but if there's one thing I have to complain about, it would be Jay Baruchel's voice for Hiccup. Watch the movie and find out why. I also feel they didn't use Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse to their full potential. But the acting is still great and the casting is fine. 8/10

    Verdict:
    This film although great, is sort of overrated when it comes to praise. This is mostly because of the flaws in the story and some of the characters. But the animation and score are what makes this film soar over Frozen and The Lego Movie. This is my pick for best animated feature of the year.....for now.

    Extra:
    +1 for being a sequel I enjoyed.

    Rating: 9/10
    Expand
  6. Jun 13, 2014
    8
    The overall fell is darker and much more mature, which is a good thing, especially with the 5 years gap. The animation, is unsurprisingly gorgeous, so is the production design. The action, by cinematography standpoint, is majestic and epic. But one has to expect, with all of those nice additions, you will get something less, especially the story and character developments. Other thing to regret, how under-mixed the beautiful score by John Powell is in the movie, makes the scene anti-climax. Overall, a nice sequel, but just that, not more Expand
  7. 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? 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.
    Expand

See all 82 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. Best of June 2014: Top Albums, Games, Movies & TV

    Best of June 2014: Top Albums, Games, Movies & TV Image
    Published: June 29, 2014
    Check out our quick guide to the best entertainment of the past month, with lists of the highest-scoring video games, TV shows, albums, and films released during June.