The How to Train Your Dragon series has been one of the most consistently good franchises out there over the past decade. It’s a coming of age story told over the course of three movies. We see Hiccup go from being the laughing stock of Berk to the people around him to him becoming the leader of those very people, and a respected leader at that.
It’s a beautiful growth which mirrors that of Hiccup’s dragon, Toothless. They each begin the first movie as outsiders amongst their groups. But as they get closer to each other, they begin to realize their full potential. The second movie shows all they can accomplish together, now that they have grown into this co-dependent relationship. Finally, The Hidden World introduces these two beloved characters to a potential life without each other.
This film perfectly caps off an amazing trilogy. It gives a satisfying ending to all of these characters – not just Hiccup and Toothless – who we have come to know and love. And it does it while still being entertaining and emotional the whole way through.
Perhaps the funniest of the three, this movie earns each one of its laughs. They all come from a place of the writers understanding their characters and how they would act in a given situation. This gives the whole movie a lighthearted tone before it rips the dragon out from under you with an emotional ending.
While it is fun and lighthearted, though, it lacks the thrills and highs that we have come to expect from this franchise. It’s a more contained story, even though the fate of these people and dragons are being decided. The characters spend so much time looking for the Hidden World, but once it is actually found, not a lot of time is actually spent exploring said world. You would expect a little more from something like that, especially with it being the titular element.
But the positives in this movie far outweigh any negatives. There are emotional through lines that are satisfyingly tied up at the end. The visual aesthetic of the series continues to be beautiful and the world building is incredible. In addition, the score by John Powell may be the best of the series, and that is saying a lot. He mixes in the memorable themes with new elements that blend in seamlessly.
All of this comes together to create something beautiful. As a massive fan of the franchise, I could not have asked for a better concluding chapter.