"With Vikings riding dragons," proclaims the clever young Viking Hiccup at the outset, "the world just got a whole lot bigger." "Bigger" pretty much describes this sequel to the 2010 sleeper hit - as opposed to, say, "different." Once again, our hero must convince a hardheaded hulk about the right way to deal with dragons. Then, it was his dad ("Kill 'em!"); now, it's your basic barbarian conqueror ("Master 'em!"). Once again, he must reconcile with a parent along the way. Then, it was his dad; now, it's his mom. Once again, Hiccup's spunky, speedy dragon Toothless must face off against a much larger beastie. Then, it was the tyrannical Red Death; now...well, let's pretend there's room for surprise, shall we? There are admirable bits: some stabs at Nature vs. Nurture with regard to both people and dragons, an early flight sequence that may have you grabbing your armrest. The animated water looks great; the people, less so. (2014) — Matthew Lickona
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