The first It was one of my favorite movies of 2017 so the sequel was one of my most highly anticipated films of 2019. And it was fine. Just nowhere near the greatness of the first film which was a disappointment for me coming out of the theater.
Twenty-sever years later, Pennywise, the Dancing Clown returned to Derry, Maine to restart his terror. The return of the clown brought the, now adult, Losers Club back to their hometown to honor an oath they took to finish off Pennywise should he ever return.
Let’s start with some good things. Pennywise is amazing once again. The clown, played brilliantly by Bill Skarsgård, is creepy as can be and he is all over Chapter Two. Skarsgård does some amazing work as Pennywise and actually provides some humor in the film as well.
The cast as a whole was amazing, especially when you consider that they are representing grown version of the characters that we met in Chapter One. Each of the actors cast was perfect as an older version of the kid actors. Jessica Chastain was strong as Beverly and looked just like the only female of the Losers Club should look. Bill Hader stole the show as the older version of Richie and seemed to be undeniably wonderful as the grown Finn Wolfhard (although as a personal pet peeve, I could have done without the two puke scenes). Jay Ransone’s Eddie was as troubled and obsessive as Jack Dylan Grazer was. He looked just like an older version of the young actor. Isaiah Mustafa’s Mike got to do more in this movie than Chosen Jacobs did as the young Mike.
I will say that I thought James McAvoy, as adult Bill, despite being cast wonderfully, was over-the-top too much and his performance felt forced. Bill was one of my favorite characters of the first film, but I was not a fan of him here.
I thought this film was more frightening and, perhaps, more disturbing than the first film. It felt more like Stranger Things with the volume turned up. This was a much more horror film and it does a solid job of avoiding the cheap jump scares, preferring instead to focus on the atmosphere and the mental anguish. While some of the scares were diminished some because of some of the failing of the CGI, especially when Pennywise was in other forms than the clown.
I’m not sure how I feel about the ending sequence. I believe this is the ending that was in Stephen King’s novel too, but, for me, I am not sure if this really works for me. Of course, the whole third act with the ritual was a bit of a stretch for me and felt too much like a B-movie example.
The part I thought was the weakest was the flashbacks to the scenes that are meant to have occurred in down time during the first movie. They used de-aging process on the kid actors to make them look as they did two years ago. The problem was that I thought at three of the kids looked like they were all CGI on their face that did not properly move when they spoke. I have heard people claim that the de-aging here was undetectable and that made me wonder what movie they were watching because it was painfully apparent that Finn Wolfhard never looked like that.
The film was really long, and it felt as if it were long. If they had removed most of these flashback scenes, I think it would have helped the flow. I would have liked to see more with the adult Losers Club instead of so much that makes the first film feel lesser than it was.
There were also a few scenes, including the opening scene of the film, that made no sense and felt shoehorned into the film for no apparent reason. In fact, I would go to say that some of the scenes held no purpose at all.
I felt that most of the humor was out of place, though some of it struck the proper chord. I believe that they tried to do too much with the funnies, especially with some of the monsters.
I may see this again before too long and I will be interested if a second viewing helps the film or makes it even longer. As it is now, a film that could have been amazing, was okay and just nowhere near as epic as the first part was. Great cast and the iconic Pennywise helped make this movie watchable.