Alright it is five years after the previous events and Vikings and dragons have a happy coexistence in the village of Burke. There is some growing up/teen angst with Hiccup and his father Stoic, their chief. Then throw in a long lost mother returning. Mix in a dash of dragon hunters. Then add a crazy maniacal bad Viking (with a sweet villain name Drago Bludvist! ) with an army of men and dragons. There is a bit of confrontation, differing schools of thought on animal training that is a "What if....." type of scenario, love/loss and an the eventual conflicts that all this brings.
The story is much more serious than the previous film. Hell, it is downright grim in places for a kids movie. I was expecting another light hearted jaunt and was surprised by the much heavier story. This is more like the old school Disney movies where shite gets real and it isn’t all singing and fun. I like what they did with the story and obviously many other people did too. It was amazing to see the theater with a huge ratio of adults to kids. It says something that with only minutes to go before the movie, that there were less than a dozen children and forty plus adults. I like those odds! It made for a quiet kids movie and those are usually impossible to come by.
The fact this takes place five years after the original story is cool. Even better is that they aged the characters. Pretty cool to see characters growing with the story. It would have been easier just to reuse animations and images from the first film, but instead everyone is older and has a new look. Even the dragons have little bits of age detail.
Toothless and his fellow dragon buddies are still the favorites of the film. The fact that anyone who has (or had) a beloved pet can relate to their actions and antics. Another nice touch from those movie creative types, familiarity. This is one reason I like this and the previous film so much. Toothless the Night Fury acts and sometimes looks) like my cat. If she could fly I could possible sue for likeness rights.
The look of the film is better than the first. The characters have aged as has their attire. A really nice touch. Bludvist has a fantastic aesthetic. Hiccup’s mom has a battle gear that will make WOW shamans and druids jealous. There are new dragon species introduced and they have very unique looks. Even the main character dragons have grown and gained small visual changes from the last film. A really good job from those artsy fartsy folks making the film.
Having a more mature theme makes this more than just another animated kids summer film. I'll be curious to see where this franchise goes if they decide to make a third installment. In the end it is more dragons and more Vikings, so of course I enjoyed it!