How do you train your dragon? With love. That was the message of a certain unexpectedly magnificent cartoon from 2010, and the let's-all-try-to-get-along vibe is continued in How to Train Your Dragon 2, a worthy follow-up with all the heart and humor of its predecessor. Set five years after gawky teen Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) helped his Viking village turn dragons from enemies into friends, the sequel has him and his proud father (Gerard Butler) disagreeing on how to handle Drago Bloodfist (!), a fearsome warrior who's assembling a dragon army. Thematically, it's "people can change" vs. "no they can't" as writer/director Dean DeBlois expands the story's mythology and ups the emotional stakes by reuniting Hiccup with his long-lost mother (Cate Blanchett). One more rousing success like this and How to Train Your Dragon will be the second-best animated trilogy in history. (Nothing's gonna touch Toy Story, sorry.) (102 min.).
Director: Dean DeBlois and Tom Owens
Producer: Bonnie Arnold, Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harington