Title – It Chapter Two (2019)
Director – Andy Muschietti (It)
Cast – Ben McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Bill Skarsgård, Jay Ryan, Andy Bean
Plot – After 27 years have passed, The Losers Club return to their home town of Derry to once more confront the terrifying clown Pennywise (Skarsgård), who has once more appeared to wreck violent havoc across the city.
“For 27 years, I dreamt of you”
Review by Eddie on 06/09/2019
2017’s It was a genuinely surprising smash-hit that faithfully adapted the first half of Stephen King’s famed novel, seemingly coming out of nowhere to take the box office by storm and receive raves from critics, now two years on the stakes are higher than ever with It Chapter Two arriving with a raft of expectations attached to it.
They’re expectations that are impossible to ignore and that aren’t met here in returning director Andy Muschietti’s bloated, at times great, at other times just plain bland sequel that sees us re-join the Losers Club 27 years on from their initial terrifying battles with Pennywise the demonic (alien?) clown.
Most glaringly detrimental to Muschietti’s horror outing is the fact there’s no justifiable need for Chapter Two to be 169 minutes long.
Featuring one of the most overblown and long-winded finale’s I can remember laying my eyes on, there’s a lot of great individual scenes in this new clown filled ride (another effectively creepy opening, a visit to a tea drinking grandma and a baseball game encounter particular highlights) but Muschietti over estimates how much we want to see of this film that outstays its welcome and gets overly sentimental on the past far too often, easily becoming 40 – 50 minutes too long in the process.
Hot off the heels of the cultural phenomenon that was and still is Stranger Things, the first It also benefited hugely by our likeable Loser Club being filled with a rag-tag group of mismatched buddies and misfits, a squad of kids and teens that got caught up in a terrifying ordeal and while our protagonists remain the same characters, having them now become tortured adults doesn’t quite give us the same experience the first outing offered up.
It’s not to say the casting is bad, on the contrary, by having interesting casting choices such as James McAvoy as the stuttering Bill Denbrough, Jessica Chastain as the tortured soul Bev Marsh, James Ransone as the easily scared Eddie Kaspbrak and MVP Bill Hader as the wise-talking Richie Tozier, Chapter Two gives us some great character beats that are well played by its cast but there’s a lot of filler in amongst all the necessary development, holding back the film from making us care as much as we did previously for this group of acquaintances.
Elsewhere in the film the returning Bill Skarsgård is on point again as Mr. Pennywise but used in intriguingly short bursts that make you wish he had a little more to do overall, whenever his on screen the film feels unpredictable and more than a little unnerving, bringing an excitement and energy that lights up the screen, just when you think you can’t take any more of our Loser’s looking back to the past or wandering around their old town of Derry.
Some other elements of Muschietti’s film that also fail to fire outside of the overdone extended final stretch are the lack of genuine scares that are to be found in the film that seems to want to focus on spectacle rather than memorable scares, some really quite bad CGI work, while the bizarre decision to have old-time foe/bully Henry Bowers to return once more to terrorize our gang is a seriously odd one as his reappearance is so unneeded and underdone you wonder what on earth the whole point was.
Final Say –
Fans of 2017’s It will find enjoyable moments within Chapter 2 while newbies will be wondering what on earth is going on in a film that is far too long for its own good. Filled with some great scenes scattered around a lot of filler, It Chapter Two really does float rather than fly.
2 ½ Fortune Cookies out of 5