31. Movie Review: IT Chapter 2
Catching up with the Nothing Peak blog schedule in the best way possible: reviewing the latest horror release. IT Chapter 2 hits theaters this weekend, and we all know I got my ticket almost right when they went on sale. I was a fan of the first chapter, and have been impatiently waiting for this follow-up. This is a spoiler-free review, so if you'd like, you can read this before you check out the film. But make your own opinions and see it regardless! Then we can discuss.
Overall, IT Chapter 2 is a wild ride, full of fun and intense moments. but it's not without flaws. (More below)
Bill Skarsgård shines in the role of Pennywise. He loses a bit of his mystery (maybe I shouldn't be gendering this cosmic entity, but I digress), but that comes with the price of a sequel: we're going to see more of the monster. Any less won't be satisfying. So the increase in violence, in certain memorable scenes, makes up for it. The opening scene as well as a few of the kills, and some of Pennywise's mind games, get intense. But it's clear that Pennywise has to adapt his game for the new era, 27 years after his last appearance. Kids today are not the same as they were then, and this movie illustrates that effectively. But it's still clear that the actor enjoys playing the part, which is magnified by his casting (still can't believe that Pennywise's "lazy" eyes are not computer-generated. That's all Skarsgård!).
Where the film stumbles is in some of its themes, the overuse of CGI effects and humor, and a few of the creature designs. The idea of facing your fears is timeless and relatable, but coupled with the tired "we're bound by friendship, and we believe" tropes, it runs dry, more so in the final act. That's not to say the final act isn't a huge improvement over the original miniseries, where the Losers fling rocks at an ugly claymation spider. Pennywise has different tricks up his sleeve in this round, but again, the CGI took me out of it, a bit.
Same went with the film's comedic aspects. Sure, comedic relief is a much needed asset in films like this, but when the movie is more funny than it is scary, the stakes are lowered, and we don't fear for the characters as much as we should. In a film with such a harrowing and gut-wrenching opening sequence (to arguably stand against that of Chapter 1), the humor should have been peppered in. Lastly, and this might be coupled with the CGI note, some of the creatures that Pennywise takes shape of are not gripping. While some of them are rather intense and interesting, some fall flat, or give us a "WTF?" reaction, rather than a scared one.
Like the first installment, the glue that holds this film together is its stellar cast. Everyone brings something different to the table, and I think the film's team did a great job casting the adult Losers. But I do wish we'd focused a bit more on them as adults than as kids, however. As much as I loved the kids, some fewer scenes with them could have lent more time for us to bond with these new ideations of the Losers Club. But Bill Hader excels as Richie Tozier, the passionate loudmouth. The character shows his true colors in this installment, and Hader portrays them exceptionally. And like I said, everyone else did a great job in their respective roles, but I would have liked to have gotten some more time with the adult Losers. I will say the restaurant scene where they all come together for the first time after 27 years apart is fantastic and showcases the cast's chemistry well.
I'd be lying if I said these films were both perfect. It's small things that keep them from reaching a perfect store, and so much has been improved upon from the miniseries, and in some ways admittedly, the book. But it is still full of Easter eggs and a few fun cameos, one of which can't be missed. I'm seriously happy with these standout Stephen King adaptations. And I'm excited to see where the young Losers Club actors go from here.
If you've seen IT Chapter 2, let me know what you think! Give spoiler alerts when appropriate. Don't ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet! Were you satisfied with this installment? What were some of your favorite parts? Let's discuss!
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