Five years (in the movie timeline, only four for us) have passed since Hiccup and Toothless first learned to ride together, and there's been a lot of change in the Viking village of Berk (even more so than seen in the spinoff TV series, Dragons: Riders/Defenders of Berk).
With five years of peace and prosperity, dragons have become a deep-seated feature and having brought about that peace, Hiccup is being prepared for his destiny... one that he's all too reluctant to face.
However he quickly has to put that reluctance aside as events transpire, and a new threat to both dragons and humans rises.
As the movie plays out Hiccup and co will encounter new enemies, but will also make new friends, and will make discoveries which will shape their futures towards How to Train Your Dragon3.
There were scenes that made me laugh, and those that made me smile... scenes that recaptured the charm and wonder that the first film gave me.
There are also scenes that will make you cry, to which I am not afraid to admit. However they're a part of the series' depiction that at times there are unfortunate consequences... and the film makers should be commended for not taking the easy way out.
I greatly enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon 2, and I'm relieved to say my fears were unfounded... and I should've had stronger faith. Even the reported singing number was less out of place than I believed it would be... and understandable under the circumstances. The duet didn't come off too strongly, thanks to Gobber's comedic relief.
In terms of visuals, HHTYD2 doesn't disappoint. The dragons are as spectacular as we've come to expect... and I believe the character/lighting engines have been upgraded because as good as they both were in the first film, they felt even more realistic in the sequel.
The music contained plenty of familiar notes from Powell's score from the first film, whilst introducing plenty of new material to avoid it simply being all recycled.
I've also enjoyed the ways they've updated the characters to show they've aged and grown, as well as the developments in their kit and village (especially Hiccup's sword).
Even though I'd had two elements spoiled for me, the spoilers didn't rob too much from the impact of those specific scenes.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 was everything I could've hoped it would be, and I look forward to what's in store in the third instalment in the How to Train Your Dragon series.