IT: Chapter Two is the sequel to the very successful IT and is based on the very long book by Stephen King. It stars James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and several others as the adult loser. Andres Muschietti returns to direct and Bill Skarsgard stars as the notorious clown Pennywise.
DISCLAIMER: Haven’t read the book. Problems I have with the story may have been better executed in the book but I didn’t really think it worked here.
The two things I heard before going in were that the movie is way too long and Bill Hader is the best part. Both those claims are absolutely right. All of the adult Losers crushed it. I wasn’t familiar with Jay Ryan, Andy Bean or James Ransone before. Not only do they both look a lot like their younger counterparts, they managed to crush the core aspect of the character and had great chemistry with everyone else. The Dark Phoenix co-stars McAvoy and Chastain were as expected fantastic. But no actor came close to Bill Hader, who managed to bring the levity that Finn Wolfhard brought to the first film as Ritchie. There are several emotional beats throughout the film that he absolutely crushes. With this and Barry, Bill Hader is slowly becoming one of my favorite actors working today.
The only Loser who I wasn’t particularly impressed by was Isaiah Mustafa. To be fair it wasn’t really his fault. The script treated Mike more like an exposition machine to help move the plot forward than an actual character. It also doesn’t help that a lot of exposition he had to deliver was related to a ritual storyline that didn’t really work at all for me. Although I was mostly impressed with the new cast they never really lived up to the children in the first film. So I was glad they popped up in flashbacks throughout IT: Chapter Two. A lot of scenes were shot recently so deaging was required to make them look the same as they did in the first movie and it was very hit or miss. There were sequences where it was beautifully integrated and I didn’t even notice the CGI. Then there are sequences that are incredibly distracting and the deaging completely took me out of the film.
Another issue I had with how the kids were integrated into IT: Chapter Two was the extremely awkward editing. Since the characters are returning to Derry for the first time in 27 years, there are several callbacks to the original. Personally, I didn’t think the movie needed to cut to the moment from the first film and this was done several times. Not only did it add nothing but it beefed up an already very long runtime.
Speaking of the runtime, I understand why they made the film three hours long. However, the pacing was completely off. The first act is incredibly rushed and instead of fleshing out the characters and their lives after the first film, they try to get them to Derry as fast as possible. Act 2 felt like Endgame’s second act but a lot more repetitive and dragged out. Sure there are some good scares but certain sequences were quite frankly boring.
Also the movie just isn’t half as scary as the first. There are definitely terrifying images and Bill Skarsgard does nail everything he is given. But it never lives up to the first in that regard. The final act felt more like a massive action blockbuster than a horror flick.
Furthermore, the final act was an absolute mixed bag. As a conclusion to the two movie story, there are tons of emotionally impactful moments that were well acted and directed by Muschietti. But the way the plot was resolved and moved forward felt extremely convenient and certain aspects were unintentionally hilarious.
Overall, IT: Chapter Two was a mixed bag. While there were several hilarious moments and the acting and direction is fantastic, the sequel never lived up to the first film and was bogged down by its excessively long runtime.