IT: Chapter Two is once again directed by Andy Muschietti and it is the second half of IT. This final chapter takes place 27 years after the first movie. Now, The Losers’ Club is all grown up and after a call from Mike, the only Loser that stayed in Derry, they team up once more to end IT and the horrors that haunt Derry. This movie stars an ensemble cast featuring, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Jay Ryan, Andy Bean and Bill Skarsgard.
When it comes to Stephen King’s IT, I didn’t grow up with the miniseries and I never read the book, meaning my first introduction to The Losers’ Club and Pennywise was the 2017 movie. IT was my first horror movie, it’s special to me for that very reason. I love and adore that movie and while I trusted Andy Muschietti and the cast and crew, I was worried for how this movie would turn out. From what I had heard about the second half of this story, I wasn’t all that intrigued. Talking turtles, rituals and deep mythology never interested me, in fact one of my favourite aspects of the first IT was how simplistic it was. A group of outsiders team up to defeat a murderous entity. Of course there was more to the story than that but that was the basis of the story. The second chapter on the other hand is more complicated than that but it doesn’t stop it from doing what it’s supposed to do.
IT: Chapter Two is a messy, epic, emotional and most importantly satisfying ending to an amazing story. I love this movie. To me these two movies have never been about Pennywise or the horrors of Derry, they were always about the Losers’ Club and this movie understands that. Thanks to some fantastic casting, Chapter Two really feels like it’s been 27 years since we have seen these characters. There was never a scene In which I felt something was off with the casting. Eddie and Richie are still hilarious, Beverly and Bill are still the bravest but on the other hand Ben’s character really went downhill and Mike is literally only there to get the Losers back to Derry and explain to the audience what they need to do to defeat It. However all of this being said, when they are all together, it’s nothing short of amazing. The scene at the Chinese Restaurant is gold.
Even though the aspects the movie got right ultimately save the movie, Chapter Two struggles to float as light as the first movie because of it’s heavily flawed script. To get the elephant out of the room, this movie is nearly three hours long and during the daunting second act, it certainly feels that way. This is due to the weak structure of the story. The movie wants to get a lot of things done while still being a fun horror movie. The first and third acts are well-done and both have a simple goal. The second act however juggles between the Losers getting important objects for a ritual, the return of Henry Bowers, connecting the flashbacks to present time and a sub-plot revolving around Bill and a child who reminds him of his late brother. It damages the movie’s pacing and runtime and will definitely have some people checking their phones to look at the time.
When it comes to horror, it was never the franchise’s strongest asset which is unfortunate considering the opportunities. My first viewing experience was tense, there were a couple scenes that got me but having seen it a second time, excluding a few scenes, the scares had little to no effect which was another disappointing factor from the first movie. The jumpscares are great fun, the music, tension and payoff are done really well. Unfortunately the movie relies a bit too much on them for scares and jumpscares don’t tend to work on repeat viewings. There are a couple of great creepy scenes, all of them involving Pennywise. Bill Skarsgard is back once again and just like last time, he is delightfully creepy only this time he is out for revenge, he’s not clowning around (excuse the pun). What I love about his performance this time is that he was even more theatrical and flamboyantly creepy, making for an incredibly entertaining antagonist.
As for The Losers’ Club, just like last time, the standouts continue to be Richie and Eddie portrayed by Bill Hader and James Ransone respectively. They bring a lot of energy to this movie. Their dynamic this time around was even more hilarious than last time. James McAvoy is excellent as usual even though his underwritten role restricted him from truly being able to show his range. Chastain’s Beverly has the second biggest emotional arc next to Richie. IT is not her only demon she’s facing and Chastain really brought the anger of being a constant victim. Jay Ryan seems like a nice guy and I’m sure this is not all of his fault but this movie managed to turn lovable Ben Hanscom to a dull, useless character who adds nothing to the story other than being the less interesting guy in the unnecessary love triangle. When it comes to Mike, he was an underdeveloped character in the first movie and even though he gets to have a bigger role it’s only to be the exposition guy.
Overall, IT: Chapter Two struggles to float as lightly as the first chapter because of a weak structure, an unnecessarily long runtime and lack of horror. Flaws aside, Chapter Two succeeds as a finale giving these beloved characters closure and ending the story in an emotionally satisfying way. Having the connection that I do with the first movie definitely made me grab a couple tissues when it came to the ending. Despite being the weaker half of this duology, IT: Chapter Two still succeeds at being a dark, funny and satisfying finale.