Review: IT Chapter Two

It Chapter Two (2019) 2h 49min | Horror | 6 September 2019 (USA) Summary: Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.
Countries: Canada, USALanguages: English

The now-adult Losers Club returns to Derry to finish what they started as kids in IT Chapter Two. It has been 27 years since the Losers Club faced off with the demonic clown Pennywise (Bill SkarsgĂ„rd) and most have moved away and forgotten their life in Derry. However, when horrific deaths begin to reoccur in the town, Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) places the call to Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), and Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) to return home of fulfil their oaf to stop “IT” for good. In order to do so, the Losers have to retrace forgotten moments from that summer in 1989 and collect personal tokens to use in a native ritual that might have the power to permanently kill IT.

Two years after IT became the highest-grossing horror film of all time, director Andy Muschietti (Mama) returns to adapt the second half of Stephen King’s novel. IT Chapter Two primarily takes place 27 years after the events of the first film, with the adult Losers Club being called back home to finish what they started as kids. While they were away, each member forgot about their life in Derry and moved on with their lives. However, it isn’t long until the memories come flooding back, as they have to relive forgotten moments to find a way to stop “IT.”

It was a narrative decision by Andy Muschietti to askew the back-and-forth narrative of Stephen King’s original novel and have the first IT film focuses entirely on the Losers Club as kids. However, as a consequence, IT Chapter Two is left having to tell the remaining story, which not only involves the Losers Club as adults but features additional flashbacks with actors Jaeden Martell, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, and Jeremy Ray Taylor returning as the young versions of Ben, Stanley, Eddie, Richie, Beverly, Mike, and Ben respectively.

As the second part of a singular story, IT Chapter Two is a fine enough film, even though the over-reliance on CGI creatures are a bit more laughable than scary this time around. However, I would have to argue that IT Chapter Two does not really work at all as a standalone film since the narrative really requires you to have a knowledge of what happened in the first film. Also, the film’s overlong 2hr 49m running time demonstrates how much plot there was still to tell. In hindsight, IT could have gone a similar route to the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand and be a pretty great six-hour mini-series and reportedly Andy Muschietti is indeed working on a single combined cut of the whole story.

If there is one thing about IT Chapter Two I have unequivocal praise for, it is the perfect casting for the adult versions of the Losers Club. While Jessica Chastain, who starred in Muschietti’s debut Mama, was long rumoured to be cast as the adult Beverly, the rest of the actors cast fit their younger counterparts near-perfectly, most particularly James Ransone (Sinister) as Eddie and Bill Hader as Ritchie, with Hader apparently having been suggested by Finn Wolfhard to play the adult version of himself.

It is very hard for me to form an ultimate opinion of IT Chapter Two. On one hand, the film is a relatively satisfying conclusion to a two-part story with an ending that is at least better than the one underwhelming one in the 1990 miniseries. On the other hand, the film on its own is a bit of an overlong mess that is trying to fit too much story into its three hour running time. As a result, I like IT Chapter Two a bit less than the first, but I still recommend it somewhat.