It Chapter Two: A Disappointing Conclusion

Director Andy Muschietti proves bigger doesn’t equal better, or scarier, with his latest film


Photo courtesy of The Wrap

“It Chapter Two” turned out to be a disappointing sequel to one of Stephen King’s best movie adaptations

Edison Geiler, MWHS Wildcat News Editor-in-Chief

“It Chapter Two,” the third film by Muschietti, is a bloated mess that sleepwalks its way through a flimsy narrative. The movie obviously had big ideas, but most of them end up falling flat. It’s not as refined as its precursor and certainly not as terrifying, which ends up creating an unsatisfying sequel to one of Stephen King’s best adaptations.

The film follows the Losers Club in their adult lives. Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) and Richie Tozier (Bill Hader) are both successful, with the former being a famous author and the latter being a stand-up comedian who consistently sells out his shows. Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) and Stanley Uris all are also living comfortably, with a rewarding job, business and marriage, respectively. The only two Losers who couldn’t seem to escape their life in Derry, ME, are Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) and Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain). Marsh still finds herself in an abusive domestic life, this time with her husband instead of her father, and Hanlon never left Derry, living the local library where he’s become a historian of sorts.

When Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) resurfaces and begins his terrorizing child murder spree, Hanlon calls the Losers to honor their promise made in the first film to return to Derry and defeat the killer clown for the last time. Each character’s trauma reemerges once they return to the town and start interacting with the other members of the Club, as they begin to remember their time together when they were children.

It’s enjoyable to see the Losers have their reunion, especially because of the talent of the ensemble. There are no poor performances by any of the actors and it leads to scenes that feel natural because of how their chemistry allows them to easily bounce off each other. By far, Hader does the best job. His comedic timing is perfect, yet he is able to demonstrable his dramatic chops on multiple occasions throughout the film. However, just as soon as they reunite, all the characters are sent on individual fetch quests at Hanlon’s order.

This is where the movie is at its weakest.

All the characters work wonders in this film when they are all together and as a result, some of the Losers’ individual missions are lackluster at best. The entire second act is a repetitive, predictable distraction with the only function serving as a catalyst for a multitude of different encounters with Pennywise. The symbolism surrounding each character unearthing and revisiting their childhood trauma on their own is clever, but like any King story, it’s at the same time incredibly brash. There’s also an over-reliance on child flashbacks, which is a shame not only because it further pads the runtime, but many of those scenes are more enjoyable than the narrative in the present.

However, the middle of the film wouldn’t be as drawn out if most of the scares work, which they don’t.

Photo courtesy of Alternative Press
“It Chapter Two” was not nearly as scary as its predecessor, despite a creepy performance by Bill Skarsgard

Muschietti is clearly a master at building tension. Marsh’s individual scene was expertly paced and shows his talent in the field of horror. Unlike the first film, however, “Chapter Two”’s CGI is horrendous to the point where it totally ruins some scenes. After the initial shock right after the scare, most audiences will laugh at how downright stupid some of Pennywise’s forms are. Even for a scene as masterful as Marsh’s, the payoff is so hilariously corny that all of the viewers’ fear is thrown out the window. When a horror movie doesn’t have a refined story in addition to effective scares, it doesn’t have much to offer.

Although the ensemble gives a great effort, they still cannot save this movie from its messy structural issues. It’s much more forgettable than the first installment in the series and audiences will surely continue to watch the latter. For all its large ideas, “It Chapter Two” cannot seem to stay afloat alongside its predecessor.