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"How to Train Your Dragon 2": Once Everyone's Got One, It's Just Not as Cool Anymore 

Wednesday, Jun 11 2014
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Everyone and her mother has already trained her dragons in How to Train Your Dragon 2, thereby turning this superfluous animated sequel into a hodgepodge of empty platitudes and aerial mayhem. Having transformed his village into a dragon-friendly haven where man and beast happily coexist side by side, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) struggles to come to grips with his dad Stoick's (Gerard Butler) desire to see him become clan chief. Yet rather than actually having its protagonist wrestle with issues of maturation and responsibility, director Dean DeBlois' film instead distracts itself with all sorts of other concerns, including a new threat posed by a warmonger named Drago (Djimon Hounsou) and the discovery of family members previously thought lost. When not reiterating well-established plot points, How to Train Your Dragon 2 preaches the virtues of peace even as it engages in endless scenes of battle, while contending that freedom from strife is ultimately achieved not through diplomacy, but through superior dragon-power. Even more frustrating, however, is that none of its characters learn anything substantial or change in any appreciable way, leaving this follow-up feeling static — and making a second-act tragedy come off like a lazy attempt at compensating for the entire endeavor's pointlessness.

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Nick Schager

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