IT Chapter Two is the follow up of critically and commercially successful IT. IT is an adaptation of the behemoth of a book written by Stephen King and is the 2nd time IT has been adapted. The first time being the TV miniseries starring Tim Curry as Pennywise. The book follows a non-linear approach to tell its story, having the reader jump back and forth between the adult and kid version of our main characters. IT (2017) wisely chose to focus only on the kids and their first experience with Pennywise, and with that building to a much-anticipated sequel set 27 years after the events that took place in Derry in 1989. IT Chapter Two was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. Being a big fan of the first movie and having dived into the book since then, I was very excited to see what the same team behind the first movie and now with a new incredible cast of adult Loser Club was able to pull off. I wouldn’t go as far as saying IT Chapter Two was a disappointment, there are far too many things to love about this movie to say that, but Chapter Two is a step down in quality compared to the high bar set by the first IT.
Right off the top, the casting for this movie is top-notch. The whole cast fits perfectly and picks up the chemistry right off where the younger cast had left it. These actors really feel like older versions of the younger Loser Club members. Bill Hader steals the show in just about every moment he’s on-screen. Obviously, when he needs to be funny, he delivers, but I didn’t expect his dramatic moments to hit as hard as they did. Hader’s character Richie has probably the best arc out of the whole cast, and Hader crushes it. Another big standout of the cast for me was James Ransone as Eddie. Eddie and Richie had the best lines together, the funniest moments, and their dynamic and arc together really got to me. Both actors played the roles exactly how I pictured the adult versions from the book.
Bill Skarsgard is wonderful as Pennywise. He dives deep into the role and is still genuinely terrifying. However, I found this movie to be a little less scary than the first one. I think it just boils down to the perspective the movie is told from. The first IT is told from the perspective of children. So to a child, Pennywise would be the scariest thing ever. And to an adult, it’s still terrifying, but it’s different. These characters have fought and defeated Pennywise once before, he doesn’t have the same effect on them as he had before. And because of that, he didn’t have that same effect on me either. I think another big part of why I feel this way is because since the first IT was released, Pennywise has become so ingrained in pop culture. He is everywhere from T-shirts to action figures, and I think that hurts his scare factor since we are so used to seeing him everywhere.
I think overall this movie felt too long and yet not long enough. I felt we lingered on scenes that weren’t necessary to have in the movie, but were in the book so they were added in, and we didn’t get a chance to focus on other things that could’ve built the story a little better. A character like Henry Bowers while great in the few scenes he has is essentially wasted and does not affect really anything in the story. They definitely could have worked him better into the overall story. I felt the story just had too many conveniences in certain areas where other plot points got too much focus. At a point in the movie, the characters have to split up and go on their own story and while I enjoyed some of their scenes, I found this segment to drag on for too long and get way too repetitive. It felt like a rehash of the first movie when all the kids have their first encounter with Pennywise, even to the point where Pennywise scares the adult characters with the same thing he scared them with when they were kids.
In my opinion IT Chapter Two has a lot to offer. I was satisfied with the final product in the end, even though it’s not a completely even story. What sells this movie and is 100% worth your money is for the great cast and the A+ performances from everyone. Hader really impressed me, to the point that he might be one of my favourite characters this year. Go into Chapter Two with no expectations. Leave your excitement and love for the first one at the door and watch this movie on its own merits. IT Chapter Two is a welcome continuation of the story The Losers Club and those kids you fell in love with in the first.