Did They Stick The Landing?
For the most part, yes.
Minor Spoilers Ahead
When the first one came out in 2010, it was a breath of fresh air for Dreamworks. Lacking the ridiculous pop-culture references that immediately dated the Shrek series, HTTYD presented a timeless story of a hero’s journey.
Combined with John Powell’s score, it had some of the most memorable moments in all of animation.
I would put that first flight up against anything Pixar has done in terms of sheer exhilaration.
HTTYD2 couldn’t replicate the newness of the first but like The Empire Strikes Back, it did a great job of expanding the world.
The time jump was a great way to expand the characters and flesh out the world of Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless and the rest of Berk. We find that there are people in the world that still don’t realize that dragons can live with humans and sometimes war is inevitable.
HTTYD: THW (yeesh, a number 3 would’ve been fine) doesn’t really bring anything new to the table in terms of the world.
We once again have another warlord, Grimmel, subjugating and hunting dragons and they have to be stopped. What it does do very well is to grow the characters in the face of this world that probably won’t change. Toothless must take up his role as the alpha and Hiccup must learn to be a leader. These are solitary roles and they cannot do these roles while in their somewhat co-dependent relationship.
I don’t use that term in the trendy pop-psych sense.
Toothless cannot fly without Hiccup and Hiccup can’t fight without his dragon. Both need to stand on their own. The catalyst for this is Grimmel’s invasion and the Light Fury that Toothless meets.
I don’t want to get too far into where this goes but Hiccup’s growth as a character over the three movies is extremely satisfying if a little bittersweet.
It ends the way it must but not predictably.
The animation is once again top notch. John Powell brings it and I beginning to think this guy needs way more movies to score. The voice actors have completely settled into their roles and bring it.
I have some issues with this movie. There is never the sweeping grandeur of the other two. Much of it takes place at night which takes away from the colorful landscapes and flights of the last two.
I wanted to kill Ruffnut for being so dense.
Don’t watch the Netflix series as it opens up too many questions that make some of the ideas in the movies not make much sense. Finally, there is not much change in the supporting characters. They are simply comedic foil or cheering him on but not much else.
I’m not sure if it’s as good as the first two, but it works well. Not many trilogies can make it through to a satisfying conclusion and this is one of them.