How to Train Your Dragon 2 2014

Critics score:
91 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Wesley Morris, Grantland: The entire film is a romance -- visually, parentally, ecologically. It's got the emotional, humorous, exciting sweep you want from a summer movie. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Offers some stunningly beautiful sequences and an engaging, if at times quite dark, story line. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Most sequels get made for commercial reasons, whether or not the world needs them. "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is a movie the world needs. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Young and old fans of the first movie will be lining up for the wit, for the inventiveness of the characters, for the breathtaking visuals - and just the sheer fun of it all. Read more

Peter Debruge, Variety: This DreamWorks Animation sequel advances the story without sacrificing the integrity that defined its most atypical toon. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: 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. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: It seemed as if there was nowhere new to go after the first film, but this is a richer story that dares to go darker and is thus more rewarding. Read more

Tom Russo, Boston Globe: Nothing in this likable sequel flies quite so high as those aerial shots. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: For once, we have an animated sequel free of the committee-job vibe so common at every animation house, no matter the track record. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Overlong and overly busy but more emotionally powerful than its predecessor. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: How to Train Your Dragon 2 is soaring, emotionally swooping, utterly satisfying fun. Read more

Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly: The flight path needs straightening, but this is still a franchise that knows how to fly. Read more

Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter: 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. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: It's a rip-roaring ride. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: One of the most beautiful animated films ever made. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Gruesome? A little. Scary? You bet. But that's exactly what makes the "Dragon" films so different, and so much better, than the average children's fare. Read more

Bruce Diones, New Yorker: The writer and director Dean DeBlois takes the comedy to a deeper, more satisfying place than he did in the original franchise-launching animated film. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: This was not a sequel that anybody needed, outside of the accountants. And there's another already planned. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: It's clear that [director Dean DeBlois] 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. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: It's the unflinching edge that gives the film its unexpected depth. Read more

Stephen Holden, New York Times: Its thundering air-war sequences, with hordes of dragon-riding fighters swarming into battle, have the swooping, gliding kineticism of vintage newsreels of World War II dogfights. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: A solid sequel sets its goals and meets them, but a movie as elating as How to Train Your Dragon 2 soars beyond conventional objectives and upends audience expectations. Read more

Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Inquirer: 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. Read more

Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press: "How to Train Your Dragon 2" doesn't play it safe, and that's why it's the rare sequel that doesn't feel somewhat stale. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Although there are times when bits of the movie feel extraneous, the production as a whole comes across more like an organic extension of the original tale than something tacked on purely to score at the box office. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Dragon 2, like The Empire Strikes Back, takes sequels to a new level of imagination and innovation. It truly is a high-flying, depth-charging wonder to behold. Read more

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: DeBlois, who also wrote the script, successfully juggles the multiple story lines, shifting allegiances and uncharted lands. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: The impressive part is the storytelling confidence of writer/director Dean DeBlois. He has created a thoughtful tale as meaningful for grown-ups as it is pleasurable for its young primary audience. Read more

Jody Mitori, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: For audiences who want a sweet story, they can't beat the first film of a boy finding his best friend. For those who are ready for the next stage, try this one about a boy becoming a man. Read more

Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times: Not only does this second movie match the charm, wit, animation skill and intelligent storytelling of the original, I think it even exceeds it. Read more

John Semley, Globe and Mail: More than just teaching kids what to think about the world they're coming into, it's a rare film that encourages them to think for themselves. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Taking its cues as much from Star Wars and Game of Thrones as from its own storybook narrative, How to Train Your Dragon 2 breathes fire into a franchise sequel. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: 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. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Nearly as exuberant as the original, How to Train Your Dragon 2 nimbly avoids sequel-itis. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: DeBlois keeps the story moving efficiently enough, and despite the fact that the film has too many structural arms and legs wiggle-wagging in all the wrong places, there are some finely tuned dramatic moments ... Read more

Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture: Despite its expanded, ambitious battle sequences, Dragon 2 is at its best when it quiets down and dares to be intimate. Read more

Stephanie Merry, Washington Post: This may be the first and last time anyone says this, but if "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is this good, why stop at 3 and 4? Read more