"Too Much To Juggle For The Clown | IT: CHAPTER TWO – Review"
You know when you see something and say to yourself, “Damn! That was really good!” Well, that’s IT: CHAPTER ONE. Then, you know when you see something, pause for a bit, and say to yourself, “That was decent.” Well, that’s IT: CHAPTER TWO.
At the end of 2017’s IT: CHAPTER ONE, the successful, R-rated reboot adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror novel, the young members of the Losers Club—the only ones in Derry aware of the evil lurking around—agree to a blood oath to come back if their efforts to destroy the malicious presence wasn’t successful. As “luck” would have it, evil resurfaces in 2019’s IT: CHAPTER TWO, also directed by Andy Muschietti.
27 years after the Losers put Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) in his place, he’s returned to terrorize the town of Derry. Now adults, the Losers have long since gone their separate ways. However, people are disappearing again, so Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), the only one of the group to remain in Derry, calls the others back home. Damaged by PTSD, they each conquer their deepest fears to destroy IT once and for all… placing them directly in the path of the shape-shifting clown who doubles down on all sorts of crazy shit.
Quite frankly, this film is a seesaw. Not as effective as it wants to be. There are things I enjoyed and things I felt didn’t really belong. For starters, CHAPTER TWO is an extremely ambitious film. It takes on a lot and does the best it can to force feed so much freaky stuff, it juggles itself into territories of overkill. The film still carries a sense of eeriness. It’s still dark and gritty with anything that entails an evil tone. However, it’s NOT as defined, paced out, or psychologically impactful as CHAPTER ONE.
A bone I have to pick with the film is how long it is. At 2:15, CHAPTER ONE was tighter and although a rehash… fresh in its own way. CHAPTER TWO feels like a long, dysfunctional walk. It’s an unnecessary (just a bit under) 3-hour run. And that’s okay had it been layered well, but it’s not. The first half is all over the place. The second half finds its footing, but when it does, it’s a little overdue due to mental exhaustion. However, redeemable, because there are elements that are both engaging and clever, which overwrites all the mind-numbing stuff that’s been building.
Another bone is this one lacks scares. Not once through the run did I work up fear whatsoever. It’s creepy. That’s for sure. There’s a lot of build-up and a lot of tension, which I guess can serve a purpose, but scares were missing. If anything, it’s reliant on “scares” solely by cutting back-and-forth between the older and younger version of the Losers. Psychologically, the narrative knows it’s not much of an impact or fun manipulating adults. Therefore, feeding off the innocence and fear of its younger cast holds down the fort of fright. I mean, that’s the deal with Pennywise anyway. There is a lot that goes on with its grown cast that’s pretty cool to take in, but the build-up to all is held down by the kids, who happen to be just as good as they were in the first.
Now that I’ve gotten rid of my gripes, I think I need to point out what worked (for me). CHAPTER TWO expands on freaky imagery, scenarios, and allows Pennywise to do his thing with a couple of new kiddy souls. Its additionals were enjoyable, fun, and a step up from the first film. The horrors implanted by this evil being is still felt and appreciated. One thing this film does very well is how the story ties in and exposes shared trauma. Individually, each character goes through a ringer of emotional atrocities. This is where subtle impact is defined among the older cast, especially with Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and to a degree… Bill Hader. All standouts in the cast, clearly these are three main players in terms of objectives and arc. The rest of the ensemble are enjoyable in their own way as well, but empathy for them isn’t on as much of a high as it is for the main three. But as a unit, the link between all of them works as they embark on their journey for soulful justices. Therefore, in its own way, the film carries itself as best as it can. It has its own tone of sinister.
Look, I’m not gonna lie… I really wanted this to freak me out. Unfortunately, it didn’t. It is what it is. I’m not mad. Overall, IT: CHAPTER WO will be an acquired taste. I recommend checking it out. It completes the saga. It’s not a failure by any stance, but doesn’t stand evenly among its 2017 predecessor. The film will generate lots of buzz and money as well, I’m sure. But afterwards, the question is will it be placed on a throne as one of the best horror films ever? I don’t know. Maybe as one 4-hour plus movie, seeing as Muschietti plans on releasing it that way at some point. But on its own, we’ll see. Of course, nothing is as effective as the original. However, both versions carry themselves. But if I had to compare the two, the 1990 TV version is near-and-dear to my heart for many reasons.
Grade: B- / Genre: Horror / Rated: R / Run Time: 2:50
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Martell, Wyatt Olefe, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor