“How to Train Your Dragon 2” is the sequel to the movie “How to Train Your Dragon” and a follow up to the popular Cartoon Network series of the same name. As with the first movie, Hiccup and Toothless discover themselves in a new adventure. The young man and his dragon face a threat that challenges both man and beast’s survival.
Stoick is Hiccup’s big and burly father and the Viking village’s chief. He lives on a remote island called Berk where he rules the villagers with a heavy hand while still being compassionate. Previously in the saga, Hiccup learned how to teach the dragons to work with the Vikings rather than against them. Since Hiccup brought this bond between man and beast about, life has been peaceful for the island of Berk and its inhabitants.
Now that the people and dragons work in harmony, Stoick feels it is time for Hiccup to take on more leadership responsibilities. Unfortunately, his sensitive and scrawny son is afraid he won’t be able to fulfill the expectations his father has. Hiccup would rather work on exploring uncharted lands surrounding the island than learn how to be a leader.
One day Hiccup and Toothless find a secret world when they unexpectedly crash land. They discover hundreds of dragons living with a woman who has taken on the job of protecting the creatures. This woman, Valka, keeps a mean dragon hunter from enslaving the flying beasts. She is also busy keeping a huge secret from Hiccup.
Hiccup’s character has grown up quite a bit from when he debuted in the first movie. The story line reflects this in the battles with the dragon hunter, his feelings of being inadequate, and the revelation that Valka is actually his mother. The family had assumed she was dead, but she had chosen to help the dragons instead of returning home. She did this more because she feared her husband wouldn’t understand her need to help the creatures rather than a desire to abandon the family. As the parents and son are reunited, each one grows in personal strength and character. “How to train Your Dragon 2” is filled with stories of Hiccup’s relationships with family and friends as he discovers his own way to be a leader.
Hiccup learns the importance of his own sense of identity and character as he becomes more comfortable with the idea of being a leader of Berk. He discovers that it will take responsibility and leadership skills more than strength and brawn to be successful. Most importantly, Hiccup realizes that family is crucial to who we become in life.
The movie’s focus remains on the influence parents have over their children learning to be good. The pro-family sentiment inspires one to be helpful, do better, and become a loving family member. When the mother comes back, the entire family learns that although each individual is unique with different strengths and weaknesses, they can be strong together. The mom learns that people can change and not to give up on anyone.
Hiccup learns that you cannot become someone else. Instead he realizes all you can do is try your best. He may never be a leader in the exact way his father was, but he can still do an excellent job of it.
There are romance scenes in this movie. The main characters, who were teenagers in the original feature, are now in their twenties and of an age to marry. There are several suggestive jokes. The couples kiss a few times during the film, a girl makes suggestive comments while trying to get a man’s attention, and a gay character comes out with a very brief and vague comment.
Astrid and Hiccup kiss twice, once as Gobber covers a child’s eyes. The married couples in the movie are seen kissing and embracing. Ruffnut becomes infatuated with Eret who likes to show off his muscles. She makes comments such as “Ooh, I like that!” and “Take me!” that are rather suggestive. In the meantime, two additional Vikings are trying to get her attention.
The Vikings are shown with their weapons and swords. Many of the characters are seen engaging in rough activity. One Viking reveals his scar from a brand being burned on to his chest. There are also intense battle scenes and explosions. A house catches fire while animals and people are trapped inside. A main character dies in one of the battle scenes. Other deaths are only shown briefly with some blood being depicted.
The alpha-possession of Berk’s dragons can be difficult to watch. Hiccup also encounters many close calls throughout the film. At one point, the sheep are ruthlessly used as game pieces during a competitive event, and numerous battles are shown between the many groups of dragons.
The violence is continued when several of the humans are captured and then beaten. One dragon comes close to death when forced out of air. Two of the largest dragons fight each other, and the people are shown shooting dragons with darts.
Drug and Alcohol Element
The only reference to drugs is when the dragons are shot with a sedative. A male character is also seen as being drugged.
The strongly positive characters portrayed in this movie show the bond between animals and people. In doing so, the message of working together to achieve a common goal is well played out. The touching scenes between parents and child make this a must-see film. One leaves with a feeling of greater self-worth, especially as a contributing member of their family.
Due to the strong messages of violence and suggestively sexual content, it may not be suitable for some children. Parents need to take this into consideration along with each child’s individual personality and age when deciding whether or not to see “How to train Your Dragon 2.”
All Rights Reserved
Southern Outdoor Cinema
About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, an outdoor cinema event production company based in Atlanta and a dad to 2 pre-teen girls. When he is is not traveling to create outdoor movie nights for communities, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and of course watching movies with his girls.