Alright, get your hate mail ready. And I really mean it, because this is a very unpopular opinion. So here it is: I don’t like How To Train Your Dragon 2 and 3.
When I was 10, I liked the original movie and watched it quite a few times. When the sequel came out, I heard nothing but praise. I wanted to like it, but when I saw it, I just couldn’t get into it. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’ve realized the one word that describes why: Pointless.
Yes, you read that right. I think the first movie was its own completed story, and there were no plot threads that needed to be wrapped up in a sequel. Now, if a sequel has a story that’s worth telling, then it’s worth making. But HTTYD2 just doesn’t feel justified to me. The premise is that there’s some dragon hunters coming and capturing the dragons to build up an army. Okay, I guess, but the execution just doesn’t win me over. It’s just a bunch of captures, revelations, and escapes that don’t engage me. Hiccup meeting his mother is kind of interesting, but it just doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
Also, I hate how Hiccup has that weapon that spews dragon venom to create a flame blade. It’s just a lightsaber ripoff!
Of course, when the plot does go somewhere, it gets semi-interesting. In the third act, the Drago Bludvist guy attacks the dragon sanctuary where Valka is keeping the dragons. Drago’s Bewilderbeast killing Valka’s and then possessing Toothless and making him kill Stoic? THAT’s interesting, right there! Especially when they leave Hiccup and his friends stranded on the island. But the way they get off is SO stupid. They say that supposedly, the baby dragons were still there because they “don’t listen to anyone.”
[bangs head against the wall] Really, writers? You’re saying that the Bewilderbeast had hypnotic powers that let it control a Night Fury-A FREAKING NIGHT FURY!-and yet it can’t control the baby dragons just because “they don’t listen to anyone?” Bull. Just…just bull. Also, by that logic, then Hiccup and his friends shouldn’t have been able to get them to fly them home, right?
Then the climax comes, and it’s just as boring as the rest of the movie. Hiccup flies up to Toothless, speaks to him saying, “The real you is in there somewhere!” and then Toothless snaps out of hypnosis because of course he does. Then Drago and his Bewilderbeast leave and promise to come back for revenge (except they don’t-more on that later). Then everyone gets back to their normal lives, and we can finally leave the theater.
The third movie is a little better than the second movie, but it still has some serious problems that prevent me from liking it. First off, the title. Why is it given a colon and subtitle? The first movie was just “How to Train Your Dragon,” which works. The second movie had a “2” slapped on it, which worked as well. But the third movie is titled “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” What? You went from numbered sequels to subtitled sequels? How very inconsistent. Especially when the plot barely has anything to do with this “hidden world.” It’s just something that Hiccup discovers on a side quest two-thirds of the way in, and then at the end, he’s like “Oh hey, Toothless, you don’t belong with us anymore, so you can just go live there!”
And the plot…uh boy. Just like the second movie, it’s just nonstop rescues, escapes, and chases. It just never seems to go anywhere! But what really kills it for me is the villain. The fact that Drago survived after the last movie made me think he’d be back for the third one. But instead, there’s just one throwaway line about “The defeat of Drago Bludvist” and then there’s this guy named Grimmel. What? Where did this guy come from? They act like he’s been practicing villainy for years, and yet we’ve never heard of him before. Goodness, he’s a lame villain!
Then the ending. To me, it felt out of nowhere. The characters basically said, “There’s been so much conflict between us because of the dragons, so you dragons don’t belong with us.” WHUT? You think just because Toy Story had an emotional ending where the main characters were forced to split up, then that means you have to do that, too? Copycats.
Plus, it basically undoes the first movie. The whole point of HTTYD1 was that Vikings saw dragons as monsters, and Hiccup had to prove that they weren’t just mindless killing machines. In the end, the Vikings and dragons learn to co-exist. But now all of a sudden you’re saying that they don’t belong together just because there were bad guys that wanted to exploit the dragons. And? People have been exploiting animals for ages. Ancient civilizations exploited horses, elephants, birds, etc. for war, transportation, and other purposes. I hardly think it’s the dragons’ fault for all the conflicts in the second and third movies. It was the bad guys’ fault for trying to exploit the dragons, so you defeat the bad guys, ergo, that solves the conflict.
To the movie’s credit, there are a couple things I like. Toothless flirting with the Light Fury was a very entertaining subplot. And the very end, where Hiccup married Astrid and went on to have kids? That’s the perfect ending to their arc. And then when they run into Toothless and the Light Fury, and the baby dragons that are mostly black with white bellies? I’m not sure if that’s genetically possible, but it still put a smile on my face. If only the rest of the movie were like that…
Well, there’s the issues I have with the HTTYD sequels. I don’t understand why everyone holds them in such high regard as the Kung Fu Panda sequels, but maybe I’m missing something. If you like the movies, then continue to do so. I’m not trying to deride your opinion, just express my own.