Does “It: Chapter Two” Satisfy?

The Humorous Yet Disappointing Finale to the Two-Part Series


Warner Bros., promotional photo, fair use

Warner Bros. released It: Chapter Two on Sept. 6, 2019. It was distributed worldwide and is still in movie theaters.

Taylor Frye, Staff Writer

In 2017, expectations were shattered when the newest adaptation of one of Stephen King’s most highly regarded works was brought to a modern setting and cashed in on the popular trend of 80s nostalgia. “It” introduced audiences to the talents of child actors such as Sophia Lillis and Wyatt Oleff, as well as bringing in familiar faces like Finn Wolfhard, now a house-hold name due to his role in the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things”. The film told the tale of an evil entity referred to as “It” tormenting the fictional town of Derry, Maine. Returning every 27 years, the local youth are then tasked with the job of stopping the monster when the adults cannot see the horrors they can. So, after a two year wait, how does the follow-up stand against its predecessor?

The sequel boasts a star-studded cast of well-known actors as James McAvoy and Bill Hader, playing the parts of the now-grown up versions of the teens from the first movie. “It: Chapter Two” follows the return of the “Loser Club” to Derry, Maine after learning of the reemergence of the titular “it”, known by them as Pennywise. The character of Mike Hanlon, played by Isaiah Mustafa, is the force that drives the Losers to return to their hometown in the first place. Being the only member of the group to have remained in their old neighborhood, Mike has spent his time researching Pennywise’s origins in the old Derry library, and immediately takes note when it appears that the monster is making its resurgence. The Losers have all since left the town to live their own lives, many of which reflect the trauma experienced when they were in Derry, such as Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) marrying a man who’s behaviors are reminiscent of the ones exhibited by her abusive father, and Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) marrying a woman who is as overbearing and anxious as his hypochondriac mother once was.

The character dynamics are unarguably the most compelling and entertaining elements of the film…

— Taylor Frye

“It: Chapter Two” is nearing the 3-hour mark, and the length of the film really sets in during the slower parts of the movie. Act one is focused on the Losers reuniting and catching up with each other, yet the movie spends far too much time dedicated on the individual lives of the Losers and events where they are separated from each other. By far the most compelling aspect of the film is its characters, with their chemistry being evident in specific scenes, especially in the beginning. It is in the second act where things certainly slow down, as the Losers are sent by Mike on their own mini adventures to retrieve items from their past, in a manner that is reminiscent of a video game objective. The characterization is consistent with the first one, but despite this some members of the Losers Club are just not as entertaining as adults. The dialogue between Richie and anyone of the Losers as well as scenes with Eddie are the most amusing, yet the rest of the cast just are not as engaging.

The character dynamics are unarguably the most compelling and entertaining elements of the film, but what bogs down an otherwise serviceable sequel is the over-reliance on shock-horror and special effects. Though “Chapter One” fell back onto its fair share of jump-scares, there certainly felt as though there was a time and place for it, so it never felt as though it was distracting from the story. Some scares may not have been very scary, but they scared the characters and thus added to the helpless atmosphere.

However, the follow-up’s issue lies in the fact that the horror scenes are frequent and seemingly relentless, with less time spent on developing its characters and more spent on utilizing unsettling computer-generated frights. When the audience may feel as though there has finally come a scene to breath, a scare quickly involves itself in some manner, detracting from other positive factors of the sequence in question. It can begin to feel overwhelming and even comical at times when serious scenes are completely suffocated by special effects.

Though there are specific creature designs that will cause you to jump in your seat, nothing of note leaves a long-lasting impact that will affect you after leaving the theater.

If you happen to be a fan who enjoyed the first installment, “It: Chapter Two” provides a surprising amount of laughs, with its actors and dialogue having a specific kind of wit and charm that is seldom seen in big-budget flicks coming out nowadays. However, the run-time can be difficult to sit through and even repetitive at times. For those looking for a way to waste a spare couple of hours, “It: Chapter Two” is an entertaining yet underwhelming finale to the two-part film adaptation of one of Stephen King’s most revered works.