(2014) Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera
The film's story begins roughly 5 years after the events of the first film and over the course of these years the Viking people of berk have made peace with the dragons and are living together happily. A great touch was that every dragon was similar to it's rider in someway and the constantly bickering twins Rufffnut and Tuffnut were on top form as always! So happily infact that the opening sequence is a head spinning rider/dragon race mixed with aspects of basketball involving sheep (yes they're back). The thrilling action of this opening scene combined with the gorgeous visuals Dreamworks has presented sets the tone things to come. I was really surprised at just how much the film crammed in to its 1hr 40min runtime, providing just enough backstory and also expanding on almost all of characters from the previous instalment. The incredible amount of detail on the facial/hair animation of the characters was a big surprise and some of the armour pieces of Hiccup's outfit were a treat for lovers of fine detail. There was a lot more emotion in this sequel and this make for a couple of heart in mouth moments, but even when the moments creep up the action and story never wavers. The pacing is just the right mix between character development, intense action and the occasional surprise. Amongst a few predictable plot points and the occasional flat joke I really couldn't find fault with this film and it was an absolute joy to watch.
This is a prime example of how to make an animated sequel, the film delivered everything I loved about the first film and cranked it up to 11. The breath taking visuals, intense action sequences and surprising emotional weight made this one of the best animated movies of the year so far. How To Train Your Dragon 2 proves that Dreamworks can stand side by side with Disney as one of the giants in animation. A near perfect film for all ages and highly recommended.