Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Written by: Gary Dauberman
Starring: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Bill Skarsgård, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan & James Ransone
Rating: R (for disturbing violent content and bloody images throughout, pervasive language, and some crude sexual material)
Runtime: 2 hr. 44 min.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Sometimes growing up sucks. Life often feels like nothing more than one big struggle to keep all of its moving parts afloat. In these moments especially you find yourself yearning for those simpler childhood days. Regarding IT: Chapter Two, the highly-anticipated follow-up to director Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, this is an instance of art imitating life. While part two delivers a mostly satisfying conclusion to the tale of the Losers’ Club, it delivers way too much in its nearly three-hour runtime.
Chapter Two picks up 27 years after the events of the first film and spends its first hour playing catch-up with our childhood heroes, now grown adults and all impeccably well cast. Notable performances courtesy of James McAvoy as Bill, now a hotshot Hollywood writer; Jessica Chastain as Beverly, who’s still haunted by horrifying visions after being exposed to Pennywise’s Dead Lights all those years ago; James Ransone as the nervous wreck called Eddie; and Bill Hader as Richie, who’s made a name for himself as trash mouthed stand-up comic. The gang must face long-forgotten fears and return home to Derry where they hope to bring a final end to the trail of carnage left in the wake of a mystical, shapeshifting monstrosity calling itself Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Bill Skarsgård is transformative as Pennywise and boasts an unsettling talent for freezing the blood in my veins with his blank, drooling stare.
The first IT is a detailed and disciplined feat of horror filmmaking. Chapter Two maintains Muschietti’s obsessive dedication to detail though it lacks the polished focus of its predecessor. At times its needless bloat borders on self-indulgent with an exhaustive chunk of screen time spent on the repeated exposing of dense exposition as well as unnecessary scare sequences and filler flashbacks featuring the original cast. That said, it’s a testament to this creative team that my investment in these characters never wavered. I kept wanting to see what came next for them despite all the meandering.
As much as we’ve come to love the Losers and their charming interplay, IT: Chapter Two is at its most thrilling when they’re all split up, effectively presenting us with a string of disturbing and disturbingly well-crafted horror shorts. These moments in particular show off Muschietti’s inner storyboard artist; the man knows how to compose a striking image.
Your mileage with IT: Chapter Two will depend on how sold you already are on the Losers. If your loyalty runs deep, it can carry you through thickest narrative patches. For this reason it works as a compliment to and ultimate end to one of the more satisfying Stephen King adaptations.
⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 (out of five)
That’s my review of IT: Chapter Two. Have you had a chance yet to check out this highly-anticipated sequel? If so, what did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? Or was your enjoyment popped like a balloon? Float down to the comments section below and let me know how this film hit you!