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"How to Train Your Dragon 2" rocks!

Actors Kit Harington (L), America Ferrera and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon 2
Actors Kit Harington (L), America Ferrera and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon 2
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

How to Train Your Dragon 2

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My wife and I were a bit late to the How to Train Your Dragon bandwagon. We had heard of the movie, but we did not see it in the theaters. We heard it was good, but we just didn't have time to go see it. Then, while visiting my parent's house, my niece and nephew wanted to watch the movie and we saw most of it. Then, while at a Target store, we saw the dolls for Toothless, the main character's dragon, and thought he was so cute. That made us watch the entire movie during one of its million times being shown on the Disney Channel. We enjoyed it. It was fun, had a decent message about judging people and animals (dragons in this case) without getting to know them.

So, with some anticipation we were awaiting the release of How to Train Your Dragon 2. We thought it would be fun, like the first one, but our expectations were not quite above that.

Then we saw it.

I can say, without feeling the least bit self-conscious, that How to Train Your Dragon 2 is one of the best movies of the summer. It's exciting, it's funny, it's intense, it's emotional, it has great characters, and the animation is some of the most beautiful that I have seen in a while. This is also a movie that uses 3D well on top of that. This movie is a blast and I recommend it for everyone.

Look, I know that the movie is mostly geared towards kids. They will love it. The main characters have breathtaking flying and battle sequences atop their dragons. The action is great. Toothless is adorable and the main character, Hiccup, is also excellent. All of the voices are excellent. The characters are fun and funny. In short, kids will love it.

The good news is that adults will, too. There is emotional depth here. Some serious things happen and the story is fine for adults with slightly longer attention spans than their offspring.

This time, Hiccup is being groomed by his father, Stoick, to take over as leader of his Viking clan. Hiccup, however, is more interested in exploring using his flying dragon, Toothless, discovering new lands and more dragons. During one of those trips he discovers a vast island composed mostly of ice where there are hundreds of dragons. He then meets a human there that ends up having a profound effect on his life (I won't spoil it, but the trailers kind of already do).

Then he and Toothless and the rest of his clan have to face the threat of Drago Bluvist. Drago wants to capture and dominate dragons, turning them into his own dragon army. He claims this is because he wants to save humanity from dragons, but the truth is far, far darker than that.

See, the plot is simple, but the movie surprises at every turn. And I really cannot emphasize enough how great the dragon-flying sequences are. The animation is just gorgeous, the characters "drawn" gorgeously. Even the water looks great here.

This is a wonderful film. It has three-dimensional characters, a great story, and it's well told. I haven't had this much fun at a summer movie so far in 2014 and I can easily see this one ending up on my best-of-summer-2014 list.