IT Chapter Two (2019)
Written By: Angela DiLella
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Andy Mushetti
Producers: Barbara Muschietti, Dan Lin, Roy Lee
Screenwriter: Gary Daubman, based on Stephen King’s novel It
Release Date: September 6, 2019
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise
Bill Hader as Richie Tozier
James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough
Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh
Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon
Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom
James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak
Andy Bean as Stanley Uris
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Twenty-seven years after the Losers Club first defeated Pennywise the clown, monster and child-eater, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) has awoken and risen again to prey upon the weak in Derry, Maine. Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), the only member of the Losers Club who still remembers what happened all those years ago, calls his childhood friends back to Derry to combat the evil that infects their hometown once again—this time for good.
There is a lot of gore—or, at the very least, a lot of blood—in IT Chapter Two . Pennywise is still dining on Derry locals just as messily as before, and many of the delusions he sends to his adversaries are gory or, at the very least, gooey. Hearts are removed from chests, the moment of Pennywise’s dinners are seen, as is the aftermath and more. Even Richie Tozier’s (Bill Hader) bum makes a second appearance. Although gross enough, it probably won’t satisfy your itch if you’re really into slashers.
Some of the gore’s effect is also lessened thanks to mediocre CGI. Surprisingly, there are CGI-heavy scenes that really make the It mini series effects shine, as outdated as they are now, simply because the practical effects used for the 1990 mini series look like they fit into their world.
The Grave Review
It: Chapter Two had big shoes to fill thanks to the smash hit of part one in 2017, not to mention the 1990s It mini series and Stephen King’s original book. In some ways, it managed to fill those shoes, though in others it couldn’t quite make it.
One of the greatest strengths of the film is the casting. Some of the actors and actresses appear more compatible with each other or true to their characters than others (Bill Hader and Jessica Chastain are probably the most natural in their roles), but they all resemble their child counterparts. That’s physically as well—everyone resembles their younger selves. It’s actually incredible, especially with the case of Henry Bowers (Teach Grant), so kudos to casting on their attention to detail on something that really could have created a tremendous detriment to the movie’s believability.
The story was also handled fairly well in its construction for the movie. There were many changes from King’s novel, but it appeared to streamline the important details from the text. There are several flashbacks to the kid’s memories we didn’t see in the first movie that feel natural In addition, the transitions into and out of delusions equally appear natural. Some dropped subplots do make me wonder why certain things were even included in the movie (like Silver, the bike), but they are never things that gets in the way of the actual story and the overall vibe of the film.
IT Chapter Two delivers a strong cast
That said, some of the writing was a bit awkward. The film had many parts that felt like they needed just one more round of edits to get to filming quality. Most if not all of these moments pushed a kind of cynical sense of humor, that worked really well for the Losers Club when they were children but didn’t quite work for the adults. It often felt like the movie ground to a halt so someone could make a bad one-off joke or try to draw needless humor out of what should have been unabashedly scary scenes. There are many scenes in third act where the horror “paused” for meandering, out-of-tone humorous scenes that completely takes the viewer out of the moment and damages their ability to suspend belief for the moments that really matter. There are scenes that felt more like a cartoon parody show such as the parody show, Robot Chicken. This made the film feel like it had aged poorly, even though it was literally the film’s opening night.
Changes to Pennywise’s demise also were a weak spot. Although the end to the original story is a little cheesy (a running joke throughout the film pokes fun at the end of this and King’s other books) and a little stranger than casual King fans are probably used to, it didn’t feel like an afterschool special about the effects of bullying. There’s also an uncomfortable scene where Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) uses a microdose to help a fellow Loser see flashbacks to It’s past that mostly just made me flash back to fifth grade DARE videos.
Another strength the movie did have was in its references. It (the book) establishes that Pennywise preys on children because their fears are less abstract than adults’. While the adults relive some childhood fears, it makes sense that there are also some classic horror movie aspects thrown in, because something like the spider-head from The Thing (1982) is a tangible fear that could affect an adult. They’re also genuinely fun for fans who recognize the Easter eggs. There are also some genuinely good references to other King properties: Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) has a study that may look very familiar to Stand By Me fans, for example. These are unquestionably recognizable to fans, but unobtrusive for someone unfamiliar with the other properties.
All in all, It Chapter Two was the epitome of an entertaining but mediocre movie. Its strengths are dragged down by its weaknesses, which pull at the viewer’s ability to suspend disbelief. It will keep you entertained in the theater, but you may be annoyed when you think about the money you spent on your ticket later.
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Did you miss the first chapter of IT? Come check it out HERE!