I know I’m late to the party MMT Fam, since it has taken me two weeks to post, but I wanted to share my thoughts on IT CHAPTER TWO – which was released on Friday, September 6 and has since dominated the box office two weekends in a row.
Premiering two years to the week of 2017’s first chapter, “It Chapter Two” finds the Losers’ Club all grown-up, successful and thriving outside of the small town of Derry – with the exception of Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), who vowed to stay in town and warn the others if danger arose and they needed to return.
And arise it does 27 years later, as Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) comes back to wreak havoc on the town – meaner and deadlier since his previous defeat by the group. Damaged by past experiences, each member of the club must face and conquer their deepest fears to destroy the killer clown, and save their hometown, once and for all.
The genius of Stephen King’s writing, on which the film is adapted, is the gravity of the topics that are interwoven in his horror stories. And IT the novel is as much about a horrendous evil as it is abuse, bigotry, and sexism.
While I thought chapter one was thorough in allowing the audience to reflect on the social issues that were interspersed, I felt that chapter two lacked the same depth and was a bit too fleeting, or not fully explanatory, at times to pack a punch.
The most glaring example of this for me was (slight spoiler alert) the violent homophobic assault that takes place at the beginning of the film. While a reader of the novel can better decipher the climate of the town, including the dark shadow that is cast over it by Pennywise, some actions needed further exploration and explanation on the big screen.
I also admit that, even though the adult Losers’ Club consisted of heavyweights such as James McAvoy (Bill Denbrough), Jessica Chastain (Beverly Marsh), and Bill Hader (Richie Tozier), with Jay Ryan (Ben Hascom), James Ransone (Eddie Kaspbrak), Andy Bean (Stanley Uris), and the aforementioned Mustafa as Mike, the young Losers’ Club actors still stole the movie for me each time their characters appeared on screen via flashbacks.
Director Andy Muschietti returned for this sequel and definitely upped the ante with the darkness and creepiness scene wise. I also love how he incorporates the nostalgic feel of the first film into this chapter, with parallel shots like the photo above from this film and this one from the first:
And screenwriter Gary Dauberman, who co-wrote part one, kept the same blend of creepy and camp that made the first movie enjoyable yet spooky.
All in all, IT CHAPTER TWO is a satisfying follow-up to the 2017 film but, at a 2 hour and 50 minute runtime, could have been either shorter or added more exploration of the social topics it briefly refers. When I think of both films in their totality I’m not as critical, but this second chapter definitely does not stand on its own.
Not as horrific due to the comedy within, the movie can be handled by those who want scary and those who enjoy thrills alike. I rate it 3 out of 5 beats on the MMTrometer.
Until next thought, Thomasena