Overview: Twenty-Seven years have passed since The Losers Club battled the murderous clown, Pennywise. He has now returned to Derry, Maine – this time to deliver more mayhem to the small town's inhabitants. Having moved away, The Losers must return to where it all began and attempt to defeat the evil clown once and for all.
What Worked: Stylistically, IT: Chapter 2 picks up right where it’s predecessor left off. The movie utilizes great lighting and atmosphere to create some very imaginative and creepy scenery. All of the sets look amazing as well, especially the carnival scene focused on Bill and a small boy. Director Andy Muschietti returns and ensures that all of the carnage from the first film is definitely expanded on this time around. Muschietti does a great job of transitioning between time periods in IT: Chapter 2. It was great to see the original kids return and the intertwining of their past memories with modern-day. Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) returns as the evil clown and does a great job of depicting one of horrors most popular monsters. Our grown-up Losers Club do a good job in their respective roles also. The overall best performance in the movie, however, has to go to Bill Hader portraying Richie Tozier. Hader is absolutely hilarious and his great one-liners make for some of the films best moments. Tozier’s character is packed with depth and even surpasses Stephen King’s book version. Speaking of the novel, this iteration of IT brings back some aspects of the original text that was lost in the TV miniseries. The controversial “Ritual Of Chüd” is present, although scaled down a bit from the source material. Finally, I really like the movie’s ending scene. It does a better job conveying the true connection between the Losers Club when compared to the novel.
What Didn’t Work: Many of the issues in IT: Chapter 2 are understandable when considering the original books length. It is extremely difficult to cram over one thousand pages of story into under five hours of movie time. This issue is one reason why IT: Chapter 2 suffers from plot holes, especially in its first act. Characters such as Belch Huggins and Bill’s girlfriend Audra are basically given zero screen time. Surprising considering they played important characters in the book. In terms of pace, the re-introduction of our now “grownup” leads is delivered to the audience far too quickly. More time was needed to show the viewer exactly where they are in life and how they got there. IT: Chapter 2 had some solid scares, however, there are still too many jump scares that build zero tension. Our cast of Losers do an admirable job, unfortunately, they lack the unity and charm of their younger selves. Scenes featuring the younger cast highlight the movie and make the viewer miss them even more. Surprisingly, I was disappointed there wasn’t more Pennywise. He definitely played a large role, but there are lulls in the film where we are left wondering why he isn’t involved. Lastly, there is a scene towards the end where the Losers Club finally come face-to-face with Pennywise, again. The audience sees the clown actually age in reverse. The look of Pennywise in that scene garnered many laughs from the audience. I don’t believe that’s what the filmmakers were going for, it looked extremely silly.
Overall: Director Andy Muschietti follows up IT with a worthy follow up to this journey. He has a great eye for horror, and does a phenomenal job of creating a dark and unsettling atmosphere that will receive some great responses from the crowd. The acting is solid all around, led by comedian Bill Hader. Negative aspects of IT: Chapter 2 include a rushed opening act, not enough Pennywise and a strange scene towards the end that will confuse some viewers. This also proves that many of the issues of the film are a by-product of the original source material. As alluded to throughout this movie, the second half of Stephen King’s novel just doesn’t compare to the first. In the end, this rendered it almost impossible for Muschietti to top his first film. Although it doesn’t quite reach the quality of its predecessor, IT: Chapter 2 is still a scary good time and provides a respectable ending to the story.