Hiccup and his pet dragon, Toothless, are back in the continuing saga of ancient Vikings who live with tame dragons, adapted from Cressida Cowell's books. In this sequel to the 2010 animated adventure, Hiccup discovers the world beyond his home island is a considerably more dangerous place. There are dragon poachers, a fearsome leader of a dragon army and a mysterious woman who also controls dragons.
Dean DeBloius' film is fast-paced, and viewers will thrill to several epic aerial battles. The humor of the first film remains, but this second installment also offers much darker material, including: a lot of destruction, a particularly unpleasant villain, some heavy parent-child issues and a death. (Younger viewers may need a Viking funeral explained to them, flaming arrows and all.) But if there's another animated film that does a better job depicting the exhilaration of flying, I can't think of it now. In 3-D in select theaters.