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article imageReview: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ flies higher and brighter Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 13, 2014 in Entertainment
‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ is the stellar, high-flying sequel that finds Hiccup a young man trying to find his place in an ever-expanding world that reveals new threats and wonders.
The first film was such a success on all fronts that there was some unavoidable apprehension about the sequel. It’s natural to wonder if the studio could match the overall quality of the original, particularly the narrative. Then the teaser trailer was released and some of the trepidation was relieved as even just these two minutes of footage were enticing. Audiences won't be disappointed by the final product either. Returning writer/director Dean DeBlois ensures How to Train Your Dragon 2 is as touching and engaging as its predecessor with the added bonus of more Toothless.
Five years after Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his friends mounted their first dragons, Berk is flourishing as a city of dragon riders. The weapons shop now specializes in saddles and everyone enjoys the sport of dragon racing. Stoick (Gerard Butler) is so proud of his son's influence over the clan, but Hiccup shuns any of the added responsibility his father tries to bestow upon him. Instead, he spends his time mapping unexplored territory with Toothless and Astrid (America Ferrera). His travels, however, reveal a crew of dragon trappers working for a madman named Drago Bloodfist (Djimon Hounsou), who is building a dragon army. But there is some other mysterious dragon rider (Cate Blanchett) sabotaging their plans whose identity will forever change Hiccup's life.
As the characters have aged, the picture has also matured. Where the first film was stunning, the sequel surpasses it. The added variety of dragons and new, untouched landscapes are just some of the increased areas of attractiveness. While Toothless and Hiccup still have some growing up to do, the picture becomes less of a coming-of-age story and evolves into an action-adventure.
DeBlois doesn’t attempt to reinvent the well-liked characters, but rather present a new chapter in their lives. The entire cast reprising their roles is an essential piece of the overall experience. Baruchel is still perfectly casted, though Hiccup is less of an underdog now than when he was first introduced to audiences. He's grown to be more confident and willing to take charge in situations, which is still very appealing when paired with his darker sense of humour.
The narrative is multi-faceted, but each element of the story is seamlessly intertwined with the rest. It's thrilling, frightening, funny, upsetting, joyous and adorable. Tears turn to laughter and fear turns to determination. Baby dragons steal your heart, while enormous alphas steal your breath. Family and leadership are the key themes that drive the tale and further absorb audiences in the amazing lives of these characters.
Director: Dean DeBlois
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett and Gerard Butler
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