‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ Melts Critics’ Cold Hearts

We round up reviews for the animated sequel.

Hiccup, Toothless and the gang are all back, and from the sound of it, critics couldn’t be happier.

How To Train Your Dragon 2” follows up the massive success of Dreamworks Animation’s first film, which chronicled the wonderful relationship between peaceful Viking Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and dragon Toothless. The forbidden friendship won over pretty much everyone who saw it, including critics.

Sequels are a tough business, but if anyone could tame the critics a second time, it’d be this incredible group, which includes Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson and Kirsten Wiig. Oh, and that’s before even mentioning that the sequel added “Game of Thrones” actor Kit Harrington and the incomparable Cate Blanchett.

Just how much did Toothless and co. charm the critics this time? Check out some of the reviews for the film, which opens today (June 13).

You’ll Melt For Toothless (In A Good Way)
“‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ is brimming with action while remaining mercifully straightforward. The undoing of many a sequel lies in its insistence on introducing multiple enemies to up the ante. There’s none of that here. Meanwhile, the movie manages to tackle themes of growing up and finding independence; coming to terms with one’s heritage; forgiveness; and how to properly care for a pet. Anyone with a cat, dog, ferret or guinea pig will probably melt when Toothless jumps on Hiccup and doles out some big, sloppy kisses.” — Stephanie Merry, Washington Post

It’s The Sequel The World Needs
“Most sequels get made for commercial reasons, whether or not the world needs them. ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ is a movie the world needs. Gleeful and smart, funny and serious, this sequel surpasses the endearing original with gorgeous animation—a dragon Eden, a dragon scourge, an infinitude of dragons—and one stirring human encounter after another.” — Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

Cate Is Great
“And Blanchett’s vocal performance, grit tempered by grace, ranks with the best in animated-film history … powers the film to a climax that will knock you for a loop.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

It’s Pretty Intense For A Kids’ Film
“Director Dean DeBlois keeps the story moving efficiently enough, and despite the fact that the film has too many structural arms and legs wiggle-wagging in all the wrong places, there are some finely tuned dramatic moments, including a tragic twist that might be too intense for really little kids. (Heck, it was almost too intense for me.)” — Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

“The Mother Of All Animated Sequels”
“Hiccup comes to discover much about both his past and his destiny in this space. DeBlois could have played the sequence a million different ways, which makes it all the more stunning for him to “let it go” as he does, turning to an original Celtic-style ballad, ‘For the Dancing and the Dreaming,’ sung as an intimate duet between two characters, instead of belted Broadway-style from the rooftops. If necessity is the mother of invention, then DreamWorks’ desire to extend the “Dragon” franchise has propelled the creative team in the most admirable of directions, resulting in what just may be the mother of all animated sequels.” — Peter Debruge, Variety