They’ve defeated Pennywise before in Chapter One, but can they do it again in Chapter Two? 27 years later, the members of the beloved Losers’ Club reunite, returning to Derry, but not just for fun. IT has returned. Pennywise is back and scarier than ever and it’s up to the gang who swore if It ever came back, they’d regroup and destroy it for real this time.
Running for a total of 3 hours, IT: Chapter Two in simple terms is a retelling of the first movie but with a few twists here and there. But for some, it was way more. The repetition of the same structure, evil, and plot wasn’t tiring for me. If anything, it was creative and it made you think ‘Oh yeah, that happened in the book! I remember that from the first film!’ The parallels were poetic if anything and I found the film thoroughly entertaining. The overarching message that we shouldn’t let our past trauma and grief hold us back, whether that’s losing your family in a fire, losing your brother to a menacing demon or being abused, bullied and raped. We need to embrace who we are now and the family we have now, even if they’re not blood. It was this message that hit me during this film and it’s this message you remember as you watch these characters defeat evil after evil before they even face Pennywise.
With Stephen King’s legacy, often when it comes to adaptations to the big screen, they’ve been criticised as a let down or not giving the right tone as the book. Yet, for IT: Chapter Two, the adaptation is faithful. There are plenty of references for all those nerds out there, myself included. Not only to the book but also to the mini-series.
Alongside this, the film has a mind-blowing perfect cast. Every single actor brings their character to life with nothing but raw talent. They’re interesting, layered, believable and if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought the kid actors from Chapter One have grown up to become the adult actors in the sequel. If you’re looking for a film with a good plot to keep you entertained, you’ve probably come to the wrong place. This is a character-driven film and if you don’t like the characters then you’re just not going to like the film. It’s as simple as that. Fortunately, I adored the characters. The way every second is focused on their attempts to battle their demons. It’s poignant and it works.
As for the scary factor, I’d give it a solid 2 on a scale of least scary to 10 being shitting my pants. I jumped and flinched at times even though I knew what was coming. I even cringed but this is all down to the unsettling camera angles and the bizarre creepy imagery that Pennywise provokes. For me, scary is gore and blood. This film has none of that. If anything, the attempts of the camera crew to make it scary did the opposite: it highlights the beautifully crafted cinematography and work gone into the landscape of this film.
There’s also a commitment to violence (although, let’s be real, I could have done without the loud sound affects that did nothing but take away the realism of the scenes). This film screams danger through its violence and brutality. You realise these characters are in serious trouble to the point that you’re rooting for them to get out without harm, to survive, to get their happy ending. Sadly, not all do and it truly is heart-breaking. But again, the violence is used to provoke raw emotion from both characters and audience and it works.
However, this film isn’t worthy of 5 stars. There are parts that I believe were not needed and could have easily cut this film down to 2, 2.5 hours. For one, Henry? Was he meant to be comedic? I didn’t see the point of him and he was a waste of screen time. Secondly, the unnecessary flashbacks. Come on, if you haven’t seen the first movie, why are you going to see the sequel? We know about the pact, we’ve seen all these scenes before, they need not repeat them. Finally, the CGI. It’s understandable that with films of this genre, CGI is unnegotiable. But, if you’re going to use it, at least do it well. I get that the kids are all grown up in real life now since the first film came out and you can’t have a 6ft Finn Wolfhard playing what is meant to be a 12 year old Richie. So, of course, you’ve gotta whack out the CGI. But it was so blaringly obvious and it took away the magic of the film.
Overall, I would describe IT: Chapter Two as a entertaining film that has you smiling with love for it’s characters despite it’s obvious other flaws. It’s a coming of age film disguised as a horror. It lacks the scare trailers and posters are trying desperately to portray. IT: Chapter Two is a brilliant adaptation of a well-known classic and does justice to the tone King wishes to set in his book.