“It: Chapter Two” is directed by Andy Muschietti, director of the 2017 “It” installment. This film stars Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar), James McAvoy (Split, Wanted), Bill Hader (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Power Rangers), Isaiah Mustafa (Shadowhunters, Horrible Bosses), Jay Ryan (Go Girls, Sea Patrol), James Ransone (Sinister, The Wire), Andy Bean (Swamp Thing, Power), and Bill Skarsgård (Deadpool 2, Allegiant). “It: Chapter Two” takes place 27 years after its predecessor, specifically 2016. If you have not seen 2017’s “It,” it’s established in that film that the main antagonist, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, wreaks havoc amongst certain individuals every 27 years. In 1989, we were introduced to the Losers Club, a group of mocked teens who unite to conquer their fears and take down the clown. At the end of the movie, the group forms a pact that if Pennywise ever happens to be alive or makes a return, they will meet up to face him once more. After all this time, the adult versions of these characters join forces once again, discuss where they’ve ended up all these years, while Pennywise happens to be on the loose.
If you have followed Scene Before over the past couple of years, you’d know that I talk about a lot of big movies. However, due to a lack of interest or commitment on the subject matter, I never got around to reviewing the first chapter of “It.” I also never watched the version of “It” where Tim Curry plays Pennywise (although I did watch Doug Walker’s Nostalgia Critic review). And one more thing… What was it? Oh, right. I NEVER READ THE BOOK! To this day, I have yet to read a single page of “It.” Movies are more fun, sorry books! I almost avoided any commitment I could possibly have with this movie, but there were certain factors about it that eventually intrigued me. I went to Best Buy one day, picked up 2017’s “It” on Blu-ray, which came with a $8 off sticker for the sequel (which I must have thrown out, like an idiot). I then waited almost a month to watch the movie, and when I finally witnessed what I’ve been missing for the past couple of years, I lost my mind. The main characters are so relatable, so charming, and when you put them together, it’s the recipe for perfection. Ultimately, “It” was a scary horror movie, but above all, an excellent coming of age story.
This brings us to the opening weekend of “It: Chapter Two.” I’ve heard a lot about this movie before I went into the auditorium. I’ve heard it’s got scares, people seem to like it for the most part, the cast is great, especially Bill Hader as Richie. While seemingly liked, it is not perfect, it does have notable problems here and there. And these statements, for the most part, are pretty much on the money. “It: Chapter Two,” from my perspective, is a film that feels as if it is trying to be “Return of the King.” The runtime is nearly three hours, it covers the finale of the written material from the books, and much like “Lord of the Rings,” this movie significantly showcases the power of companionship. Did this movie really need to be three hours? Probably not. I wouldn’t have minded a extended runtime, but it didn’t need to as long as “Interstellar.” I say that because when it comes to the material presented in the three hours of “It: Chapter Two,” a lot of it almost feels tacked on.
Remember “Suicide Squad?” One of the big problems with that movie is that it couldn’t focus too much on the present and instead relied heavily upon various flashbacks that would constantly appear out of nowhere. This movie has a good amount of flashback footage that isn’t off-putting, but pretty exorbitant. It kind of gets to the point where the flashbacks are charming, I guess, but they overstay their welcome.
But when focusing on the present, the characters are in fact the some of the best parts of this movie. It’s nice getting to know these new versions of previously established losers, especially considering how they all turned out to be winners in the very end. Richie became a stand-up comedian, Beverly is a fashion designer, Bill writes mystery novels, etc. I really admire how everyone in the Losers Club, which is appropriately named as it consists of people who were picked on, comes out on top in the end. But it’s not like everyone’s lives turned out to be rainbows and unicorns upon becoming adults. Beverly starts out the movie in an abusive relationship with her husband. Bill, while he seems to be a fine writer, doesn’t seem to stick the landing on his endings. Richie even has a little mishap upon returning to Derry, because he apparently yelled at a fan because he forgot a line he said during one of his gigs. Not everything’s perfect.
And speaking of imperfections, let’s talk about Pennywise. I’m not saying he’s a flawed character or anything, just saying he’s a psychopath. Bill Skarsgård is a f*cking boss in this film! This shouldn’t be too surprising because Pennywise was a standout in the original film. Films like this also remind me of how much fun it is to play a villain. Who wouldn’t want to play a vicious, horrifying killer clown that eats people? Everything about Pennywise was what I wanted out of this movie. The voice, the dialogue, the makeup, the crazy antics, the exploration of lore, whatever was presented was as delicious as pizza! That even includes one or two moments that are a bit heavy on CGI to the point where it is easy to pick up if you look hard enough.
But I will say, I don’t know if this movie will end up having the same replay value that I think the first one will end up having. It’s a bit early to say since I just saw this film on Saturday, plus I waited until last Thursday to watch the original. But if I were alone on Halloween and needed something to watch in the living room while handing out candy to children, I currently much prefer the original. Both films are effectively scary, and in this film, there are a lot of gross, disturbing, and shocking moments to witness. Remember that trailer with Jessica Chastain visiting the old lady? Get ready. That scene where Pennywise is surrounded by black and utters “Hello?” F*cking nuts. And the climax, while a bit extended, is undoubtedly entertaining. But as a story, this film is a tad more convoluted and a bit more poorly paced compared to the original. The original has a bit of an advantage due to the shorter runtime, but I can live with films going past three hours (which this one almost does). With that being said however, everything in those three hours has to matter, or be something that I as an audience member can care about, and unfortunately, that’s not the case for everything presented in that time.
Also, speaking of time, the ending takes FOREVER to fully establish itself. There are like two, three, four, perhaps even five or six points during the climax where the movie could stop, and wrap itself in a bow that is satisfying. Unfortunately, it goes ahead and says “Look at me, I’m ‘It: Chapter Two!’ There’s no stopping me now! Ha ha! Yeah!” And it’s kind of unfortunate because 2019, in my view, has not been the all-time best year for movies, but if there is one thing that stands out this year compared to others, it’s the eternal positive impact many endings will have on me as a viewer. We’ve had “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Ready or Not,” and “Toy Story 4.” All of these movies have magnificent final moments that I will perhaps forever appreciate. The ending of “It: Chapter Two” tries as hard as it can to leave a big impact, and I imagine for a chunk of people, it will. However, for me, I was appreciative of what was happening, while also hoping to get out of my chair because I feel like I have seen more than enough. It wasn’t like Pennywise bit my arm or anything, but it was like I was in line in a crowded Burger King or something.
In the end, “It: Chapter Two” is dark and gorey, but part of the mess associated with this movie is the less than pleasant pacing. The characters are great, the transitions they seem to make from teens to adults make sense for the most part. I find it a tad interesting that Ben is much more physically fit as an adult compared to how he was as teen, but Tom Brady is still winning Super Bowls, so anything can happen if you put your mind to it. If the movie were at least ten or so minutes shorter, perhaps fifteen, I think the pacing would be fair and square. But just because the movie is a bit sloppy on pacing, doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable. So with that being said, I’m going to give “It: Chapter Two” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I have no idea what my next review is going to be, at least for films out in theaters right now. I’m still trying to get my ass to a “Hobbs and Shaw” screening before it’s too late, maybe that’ll be the one I go to next. But I also heard a lot recently about this movie called “The Fanatic,” starring John Travolta. It’s not a big moneymaker, nor is it playing at too many cinemas, but I’m hearing a lot about this movie. It even got a Hilariocity Review from YouTuber Chris Stuckmann! And this film looks like it could be the next “The Room.” Perhaps even better than “The Room” in terms of how enjoyable yet horrible it really is. It’s available On Demand, maybe I’ll rent it, check it out, see what it’s all about, because as of recently, I’ve kind of been dying to see it in order to know what I’ve been missing. If you want to see that review or other great content, consider following Scene Before with an email or WordPress account, tell your friends about the blog, it really helps me out! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “It: Chapter Two?” What did you think about it? Or, did you ever read the “It” book? Is it better than this movie? Is it better than the Tim Curry “It?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Great review Jack!! One bit of trivia regarding the writer “Bill” and his lack of ability to “stick the ending” (love that phrase). Stephen King himself has often been criticized for what readers considered his poor endings (something I disagree with) – so perhaps this is a subtle nod or tongue and cheek poke at the master of horror himself!
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