Again, the whole situation is supposed to be funny, a silly aside to the more dramatic and bittersweet material of the film. But the thing is, even when it's being heartbreaking, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World never really stops being funny. Tuffnut (Justin Rupple) and Ruffnut (Kristen Wiig) actually each get fun beats, and Toothless is a big old charming ball of doofy energy whenever the Light Fury is involved.
Even the villainous Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) gets some funny bits, especially after he has captured the unbearably talkative Ruffnut. The film didn't need a comic relief element when it already had a solid amount of comedy to relieve the tension.
Valka and Eret essentially lose their impact on the plot as a result. The film doesn't need to do anything else with them, and that feels like a waste. The pair of them even arrive for the final battle in their dragon scale armor, but we get almost no screen time dedicated to their battle, all because the rest of their time was otherwise relegated to Snoutlout being a crappy teenager.
In a movie that at times feels rushed when the previous films were almost defined by their breezy tempo set against a massive fantasy backdrop, there was no reason the creators needed to waste time on perhaps the dumbest love triangle in recent memory.
The film introduces the imposing and memorable concept of Dragon Warlords, but then fails to do anything with them because it fills valuable time with forced comedy about a loser teenager hitting on a widow like this is a medieval Superbad.
That's the Dreamworks we know from Shark Tale, not the How to Train Your Dragon series. The movie is better served without the pointless love triangle, and the audience certainly didn't need it.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World will hit theaters Feb. 22, 2019. Written and directed by Dean DeBlois, the film stars the voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kit Harington, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Justin Rupple, Kristen Wiig and F. Murray Abraham.