It: Chapter 2 is a supernatural horror film and the sequel to the 2017 film It, both based on the 1986 novel by Stephen King. The film was previously adapted into a miniseries in 1990. Click the links for the reviews for the miniseries and the first film. This film is directed by Andy Muschietti and it takes place in 2016, 27 years after the first film. It stars Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean as the adult versions of the Losers' Club. The young versions are reprised by Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff and also reprising his role is Bill Skarsgard.
The Story/The Direction:
As the first film prophesied, Pennywise (Skarsgard) returns 27 years later and the Losers’ Club has to fight him. However, all but one remains in Derry, Maine. After Pennywise takes his first victim in a gay teenager, Mike Hanlon (Mustafa/Jacobs) calls up his friends who have all gone on their separate ways. When the team finally gets back together, they must face their fears and Pennywise again. Mike has a new idea on how to beat him but he needs the help of the Losers’ Club. He has learned from a local Native American tribe that if they find totems from their youth to sacrifice they can rid Pennywise from existence.
This film is Muschietti third and he does a good job recreating the second half of King’s novel. Visually, Muschietti is able to flourish and show maturity when creating this film. As this film is close to three hours long, he has a lot of opportunities to show off his skills. Wallfisch’s music is again well done though not as iconic as the prior film. However, the film is a solid, extremely well-crafted, great-looking and occasionally quite chilling film, with terrific performances by the grown-ups as well as the returning kids.
The Acting/The Characters:
Bill (McAvoy) is a novelist whose newest book is being adapted into a film (who could he be an analogy for? If this didn’t give away, don’t worry the film will tell you over and over again. Beverly (Chastain/Lillis) is married to an abusive husband, Richie (Hader/Wolfhard) is a stand up comedian, Eddie ( Ransone/ Grazer) is still a neurotic hypochondriac who’s married a woman who is embodiment of his mother and Ben (Ryan/Taylor) has lost a lot of weight and is now a well off architect. Honestly, this cast is absolutely perfect. Each member does seem like the older version of their child counterpart. One of the problems with the miniseries was that the adult versions were boring and luckily they are not here. Hader and McAvoy are the best ones and the rest of them are okay. They aren’t bad but nothing outstanding but the best storyline was Bill’s dealing with his PTSD and survivor’s guilt about Georgie. The rest of the club and decent individual journeys however they weren’t very memorable.
Pennywise (Skarsgård) portrayal of this clown figure is still deeply creepy. He has a physical and verbal presence that works well between the lines of terrifying and hilarious. He has become an iconic horror villain and the scene that he is putting on makeup is beyond scary. He is able to scare these characters and the audience but he is not on screen as much as the previous film. The film’s best parts are when the members of the Losers’ Club are together as with their banter, hormones, humor, insecurity, and camaraderie such as when they are at the restaurant in the Chinese restaurant. However, the film spends a lot of time keeping their perfectly picked actors apart on individual adventures, which drags out the drama and slows down the momentum.
They are on these mini-adventures at Mike’s insistence. He states that they must find these totems but this bit is fairly absurd. It doesn’t do anything but lengthen the film. Some of the journeys do not really even play out towards the end of the film even though they do add some strong character development. This Native American ritual subplot is in the novel but in adapting the second part of King’s nearly 1,200-page book, the film has issues when dealing with what to keep and what to cut. There were numerous scenes that did not have to be there and could have been cut. For example, when the Losers’ club journey to kill Pennywise, the film shows them going deeper into the sewers than the last film. The film spends time telling you the difference between these two levels but it was not needed. Furthermore, the way they defeat Pennywise seems problematic given the way he hypnotized Richie. Some of the CGI did look a little bit wonky and the de-aging of the children seemed very distracting at times. The biggest problem with this film, however, is that the creep factor is gone. After leaving the first film, one could have issues going home and falling asleep and this is even true the film is rewatched. The second film relies on jump scares for fear and that’s it. The scariest scene in which Pennywise interacts with a little girl with a birthmark on her face and she feels for him because he says he, too, knows what it’s like to look different. This, unfortunately, goes nowhere like a lot of the plot points of the film.
This film had a lot to live up to because of how good the first one was. The characters and the actors were still decent and definitely more interesting than the prior rendition of the story in the ’90s. Pennywise is still creepy but the overall film is not. It does add to the story that creates a decent overarching story through the two films. This film was better than the second half of the miniseries however it does not live up to its predecessor and can feel bored at times. It was way too long and could have been cut down a lot.
Rating: 3.0/5.0 bowties
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