Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The entire film is a romance -- visually, parentally, ecologically. It's got the emotional, humorous, exciting sweep you want from a summer movie.
New York Post:
Offers some stunningly beautiful sequences and an engaging, if at times quite dark, story line.
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.
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.
This DreamWorks Animation sequel advances the story without sacrificing the integrity that defined its most atypical toon.
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.
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.
Nothing in this likable sequel flies quite so high as those aerial shots.
For once, we have an animated sequel free of the committee-job vibe so common at every animation house, no matter the track record.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is soaring, emotionally swooping, utterly satisfying fun.
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.
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.
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.
This was not a sequel that anybody needed, outside of the accountants. And there's another already planned.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
San Francisco Chronicle:
DeBlois, who also wrote the script, successfully juggles the multiple story lines, shifting allegiances and uncharted lands.
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.
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.
Not only does this second movie match the charm, wit, animation skill and intelligent storytelling of the original, I think it even exceeds it.
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.
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.
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.
Nearly as exuberant as the original, How to Train Your Dragon 2 nimbly avoids sequel-itis.
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 ...
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?