“It Chapter Two” attempts to deliver many scares and shocks just like its predecessor, and it succeeds to some degree. Although it is rather overlong as arduously building up narrative momentum for its expected big finale and closure, the movie is still entertaining on the whole, and its 169-minute running time is less burdensome than expected as it smoothly moves from one scary moment to another.
In the previous film, which is set in 1989, its seven young adolescent main characters stuck together for fighting against a powerful evil entity terrorizing their small city in Maine, and they eventually came to beat the entity in question, but this entity, which usually appears as a scary clown named Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård), is not dead at all. 27 years later, it returns and then begins its reign of terror over the city, and that is soon noticed by Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), the only member of ‘The Losers’ Club’ who has remained in the city during last 27 years.
Hanlon subsequently contacts his six old friends one by one, who all instantly find themselves overwhelmed by that vague but fearful memories of what happened to them during the summer of 1989. It is clear that they should come back to their old hometown right now as they once promised to each other at the end of their scary adventure in 1989, and all of them except one certain member, who is too terrified to relive what he and his friends went through, come to gather for a reunion held at a local Chinese restaurant in their old hometown.
While the members of the Losers’ Club are glad to see each other again, it does not take much time for them to discern that their old enemy is ready to settle its old score with them, and they subsequently come to face their old memories which have been suppressed for years but now become awakened as they respectively go around in their hometown. When he comes across his old bicycle, Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) is certainly delighted, but then he is reminded again of his old childhood guilt which was the starting point for their battle against their enemy. In case of the other returning members of the Losers’ club, Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), and Beverly (Jessica Chastain), they experience each own unpleasant moment, and I and the other audiences around me were particularly tickled and thrilled by a wryly creepy scene where Beverly visited an apartment where she and her abusive father lived.
As our main characters are menaced more and more by their diabolical opponent, the movie steadily maintains its mood and narrative pacing although trudging at times during its middle part. While the adapted screenplay by Gary Dauberman feels a little too uneven, it continues to dole out small and big scary moments coupled with some character development, and we come to care more about what is being at stake for our main characters. I must point out that the occasional flashback scenes feel a bit redundant, but they still function well as a part of the emotional base of the film, and it certainly helps that the main cast members of the film are flawlessly connected with their younger counterparts in the previous film.
In the end, everything in the story culminates to the climactic sequence where our main characters go back to their old battleground and then confront their old enemy together as before, but that is where I got impatient and less emotionally involved in what was shown on the screen. While the movie did not bore me much during its first two hours, it became relatively less interesting to me during its last 50 minutes as relentlessly throwing lots of special effects into the screen, and some of you may be disappointed to see that the finale is not as spectacularly and massively destructive as that of Stephen King’s famous horror novel on which the movie is based.
Anyway, the movie is still a competent genre piece thanks to the skillful direction of director Andy Muschietti, and its technical aspects are commendable on the whole. While cinematographer Checco Varese did a good job of generating insidious ambience around the screen, the score by Benjamin Wallfisch is alternatively chilling and sensitive, and it surely goes wild as required during several big moments in the film.
The main cast members of the film are all well-cast in their respective roles, and their effortless chemistry on the screen is the main reason why the movie works despite its glaring flaws. While James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader are understandably more prominent, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, and Jay Ryan also give solid performances, and Hader and Ransone are especially enjoyable as the more colorful members of the Losers’ Club. As the big bad villain of the movie, Bill Skarsgård ably conveys to us his character’s unspeakable evil and twisted sense of humor as before, and it is also nice to see the young main cast members of the previous film again on the screen.
In conclusion, “It Chapter Two” does not surpass its predecessor much while not entirely successful, but it is mostly watchable thanks to the good efforts from its cast and crew members, and you will be probably satisfied enough with its overall result if you have eagerly waited for it since watching its predecessor. I still feel some dissatisfaction, but I had a fair share of fun and excitement during my viewing, so I will not grumble here for now.