‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ much darker, and really cool

‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ much darker, and really cool

When last we visited the Viking island of Berk, young Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) had shown his chieftain father, Stoick (Gerard Butler), and the other doubting villagers that dragons and humans could not only peacefully coexist, but could become trusted allies and friends.

So now, all is rainbows and daffodils in the village, except Hiccup and his trusty pal, Toothless, the Night Fury dragon, venture far across the waters searching for new uncharted places, new clans and perhaps another Night Fury?

What they find is an abandoned enclave encased in ice. Who or what could have done such a thing? And why?

They hear talk from a crew of dragon hunters of a mysterious dragon rider. The dragon hunters seek the powerful beasts to build an army for the menacing Drago Bludvist (given voice by Djimon Hounsou). Drago once had a run-in with the Vikings of Berk, and now seeks revenge against Stoick and his clan.

The mysterious dragon rider is trying to keep Drago from building up his dragon army by protecting a large number of the creatures in a secluded sanctuary. Hiccup and Toothless will join the cause, along with his friends and eventually his deeply concerned father.

Unfortunately, Drago has an ace up his sleeve, a leviathan creature that can control the will of the other dragons. Once his army is strong enough, he will set out to conquer Berk.

If you haven’t figured out by now, this second story, in what will be a “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy, is much darker in tone than the first coming-of-age tale. 

Hiccup has found his confidence, but now his father is grooming him to one day lead the clan, which he is reluctant to do.

There’s still an air of enjoyment in this second film, but it’s tempered by the growing maturity of its previously happy-go-lucky lead character, Hiccup. “Dragon 2” has some real weight to its plot, and that’s a good thing.

In fact, the director Dean DeBlois insisted that he would only return for this sequel if the studio allowed him to also direct the final chapter in the Cressida Cowell book series.

And so, now I have a whole new respect for what I thought was going to be another silly romp with goofy characters and lukewarm story lines.  

Suddenly, this dragon saga is cool and has my attention. And I can’t wait for “How to Train Your Dragon 3,” which should hit theaters sometime in 2016.

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