Nine years ago we met Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless in Dean DeBlois’ How to Train Your Dragon. Over the course of nine years we saw this beautiful relationship unfold and evolve and now we have reached the end with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
In How to Train Your Dragon Hiccup and Toothless were kids learning to find their place as outsiders and as the trilogy progressed, the bond between the duo set them on a path to change a world for the better. Now in the final chapter, Hiccup and Toothless finally face the most difficult challenge: being adults and growing apart.
As grown-ups, the pair are faced with the reality of adult life, and the prospect of taking on more responsibility than they feel they can handle. Hiccup must become the leader Berk needs when a new and mysterious enemy threatens the utopia he has built alongside Toothless, the people of Berk and all their new dragon compatriots, all while Toothless finds his true mate and discovers his duties as Alpha go beyond just Berk and Hiccup.
While the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy focuses heavily on friendship and how the relationships we build around ourselves help us become the people we are and the best version of ourselves, it’s also a coming-of-age tale; something this franchise has been from the very beginning.
While the movie is amazing and a perfect ending to this franchise, the truth is that the villain of the film, Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham), is not really noteworthy. In fact, you leave the theatre not really remembering him. He certainly doesn’t make an impact quite like Drago, or lives up to the conflict of the first film. The villain in this movie is just a means to an end and while he serves his purpose. It’s clear that the story wanted the focus more on making it clear what it is like to grow up and become an adult, with responsibilities and decisions that are not easy to make but must be. This was shown perfectly in the ending of this franchise.
One of the things I enjoy most about the How to Train Your Dragon series is the fact that every character is well-rounded and has a personality of their own, and while Hiccup’s friends stay relatively the same since their first introduction, it is Astrid (America Ferrera) who is given room to grow alongside Hiccup. Astrid has always been by Hiccup’s side, believing in him when he did not even believe in himself, but in this third instalment she gets treated as Hiccup’s partner, the future Chieftess of Berk. It’s their relationship that takes a more solid foundation in this film, making it clear that Hiccup is not alone, and doesn’t have to carry the “burdens” all alone.
But Hiccup is not the only one who gets to have a partner to rely on, as Toothless finds a Light Fury (who remains unnamed for the entirety of the movie), and as they fall in love and become mates (Night Furies mate for life), Toothless realizes there’s life for dragons outside of Berk, especially as people will never truly accept dragons as equals in their societies.
Nevertheless, the film ends on a sweet, beautiful note that reminds us that while we might be adults, we should never let go of our childhood, and the friendships and memories that made us who we are.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is in theaters now.