I went to see this movie over the weekend with my sister and six-year-old nephew. I liked it so much, I will probably go back and see it a second time before it leaves the theater.
I've only seen the first one on DVD. I remember when it came out in the theater, but the trailer didn't really grab me, and I skipped at the time. That was a mistake! After I finally got to see it on DVD, I was surprised and delighted to find out it was a totally different movie than what I had been expecting. I loved the characters, loved the story, loved the dragons -- particularly Toothless, who ranks as my second favorite cinematic dragon behind Dragonslayer's Vermithrax. How to Train Your Dragon popped right onto my top ten favorite animated movies list.
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that the trailer for the sequel didn't grab me either, but once again, the movie turned out to be quite different and far better than my expectations.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 is set in a bright, colorful, and beautiful world. The first one used a much darker and somber color palette until the very end, and that is not a bad thing. It's exactly what the first film required. But, I can't help but love how beautiful the second film is. This is a world I want to go into. I also loved the characters a lot more in the second movie. All of the setup is out of the way, the initial character conflicts are behind us. Everything has moved forward, there are new issues, everyone works together, and I really like the direction the movie took. The second movie has more lighter moments than the first one (Ruffnut was particularly hilarious), and at the same time, the sequel has the same wonderful heart as the first film. I cared even more for what happened to the characters, and I personally found the plot and outcome very satisfying. Lots of action, lots of dragons, lots of beauty, lots of emotion. John Powell's score was quite good, better than the first movie's score.
I wasn't sure when I got out of the theater on Saturday which of the two movies I liked better, but we watched the first one again tonight, and yep, as much as I love it -- which is a lot -- I enjoyed the second one even more.