Movie Review Monday: It: Chapter Two
One of my most anticipated films of the year debuted in theaters this weekend, and I was excited to finally see It: Chapter 2. The sequel to 2017’s It, the film was directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Gary Dauberman. The story picks up 27 years after the events of the first film and follows the Losers’ Club returning to Derry in an attempt to stop Pennywise once and for all. The film sees the return of the young cast from the first film, and it also sees the return of Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The film also stars Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean as the adult versions of the Losers’ Club. The horror film is already projected to easily claim the top spot at the box office with a $91 million domestic debut.
The movie begins on a gruesome note with a carnival in Derry in modern day. A couple is bullied by a group of guys, and one of the men ends up in the river. He is killed by Pennywise, and a rush of red balloons emerge as this happens. From there, it is revealed that Mike is the only one of the Losers’ Club to remain in Derry. He lives in the attic of the library, and he hears the details of the attack over the police scanner. He inspects the crime scene and finds the remnants of a balloon and a message from Pennywise written in blood. From there, Mike summons the rest of the Losers’ Club to return to Derry to make good on their vows and return home to defeat It.
It: Chapter Two has been one of my most highly anticipated films of the year since the first trailer, and while it does falter at times, it’s an ambitious film. It is far too lengthy and stuffed with flashbacks, but the story still pulls in the audience with ease. This second chapter is more gruesome than the first and definitely weirder. Also, the score is as creepy as ever and perfectly sets the stage for what is about to unfold. Some of the members of the Losers’ Club have more to do in the story than others, but that is to be expected with such a large cast. Also, Pennywise, while a terrifying character, does not feel quite as scary here because the audience has become somewhat accustomed to him.
The backbone of the story continues to be the members of the Losers’ Club, and the entire ensemble cast is incredible. James McAvoy embraces even the tiniest details of Bill’s personality, subtlety delivering on the return of Bill’s childhood stutter, and Jessica Chastain is as good as she’s ever been playing the complicated character of Beverly. In fact, one of the best sequences of the film is her return to her childhood home, and Chastain delivers on every tense moment in that sequence. However, it is Bill Hader and James Ransone that steal the show as the grown versions of Richie and Eddie. It is essentially their movie, and they completely deliver on their engaging arcs and storylines.
At the end of the day, It: Chapter Two has its missteps but does provide a solid conclusion for this property. The flashback sequences are frequent and sometimes unnecessary, and the CGI gets a little odd at times due to the de-aging process of the kids. However, the ensemble cast provides some excellent performances and makes up for any other issues the film contains. It may not be as well-received as the original film, but It: Chapter Two still provides for a fun and unsettling trip to the theater.
Jonathan is a film enthusiast, video whiz, and extremely knowledgable about all things Star Wars.. He is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow his many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @beachjd.