Movie Review: It Chapter 2
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Director: Andy Muschietti
by Jason Koenigsberg
Twenty-seven years after the events of It (2017) our heroes from the ‘Losers Club’ reunite to battle Pennywise the evil clown in It Chapter 2. The result is disappointing considering how effective the first picture was and all of the talent and production value for this film. The performances especially, from Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader, are more than noteworthy, and the set designs are all top-notch. It is a real shame that this movie relied on failed attempts at humor and jump scares for almost three hours. So many good elements squandered by bad writing. The previous film was intense and genuinely terrifying, this is just artificial and underwhelming.
It Chapter 2 opens up with a shot of Beverly, the lone female character in the ‘Losers Club’ from the previous film floating in the air and being possessed as they battle supernatural powers to defeat the clown. It soon cuts to opening credits and a murder at a carnival in Derry, Maine, where all the events in the story take place. This ignites the characters to come home as they agreed they would and fight Pennywise again to try and defeat evil once and for all. Well, most of these so-called ‘losers’ sure grew up great. A lot of them are very successful with flashy jobs, driving fancy cars, and living in very expensive houses. They go back home to Maine from places like Hollywood and Manhattan and bring all of their childhood fears with them.
The best scenes in the Stephen King book involve the children and the adult scenes were more contrived, the same can be said here and a lot of the best moments come from the child actors that were the main stars in the last film. It Chapter 2 is faithful to the book but as stated before it’s reliance on jump scares and bad jokes hurt the film and actually make ‘Chapter 1’ feel not as great as it originally did. Plus, It Chapter 2 goes on, and on, and on, and on… and on. There was really no reason to stretch the running time as long as the filmmakers did. The King novel is over 1100 pages so it looks more like a doorstop than a book, but the film while being faithful, lost some of the thrills because they did not trim some of the fat. It Chapter 2 also tries very hard to be self-aware. There are two great cameos, two of the rare times the humor did not feel forced, by director Peter Bogdanovich and one by the author Stephen King himself, both of which reference how the writer (King) does not write good endings. A shameless attempt by the filmmakers to earn audience and critics pity for the conclusion to the It saga. That is beyond pathetic. The plot is filled with arbitrary moments where the characters are doing things that only make sense and are logical to them. The special effects are outstanding (except for one instance where it blatantly stole from John Carpenter’s The Thing) and some of the performances are good enough that you will wish they were acting in a better film. It Chapter 2 is a letdown that takes up three hours of your life and by the end it just makes the first film feel less special.
Skip It Chapter 2 and watch one of the better film adaptations based on a Stephen King thriller. Below is the trailer for Carrie (1976) the first movie based on a King novel and still one of the best.