The groundwork had been set so well in the first chapter that you couldn’t help but be excited for the possibility of return of Pennywise. The scares, the characters and the way relationships had been built in the first film were all owing to the success but it was Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise who stole the whole film.
As with the first, Skarsgard’s Pennywise is still the best thing in the movie and this is no more apparent than in the fairly shocking opening scene where he manages to make a memorable impact. He gets some fantastic moments in the movie and Skarsgard has made the character his own, superseding Tim Curry’s iconic effort, but unfortunately he feels under-used as the film decides to focus more on the now A-List cast.
Or more importantly, two particular A-List stars. James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain join the cast, adding some credibility to the movie and also upping the acting stakes but they fall short. They are by far the weakest two aspects of the whole movie, never really throwing themselves behind the roles as they really should.
It is highlighted even more when the rest of the returning “Loser Club” now adults of course, do such a great job with their respective parts. A stand-out is Bill Hader as Richie. Played by Finn Wolfhard for the child version, he is as obnoxious as he was as a youngster but as well as getting the funniest lines, he also gets some the more genuine moments and holds his own alongside the Oscar nominees.
The original child characters return for flashbacks as well and these work as some of the movie’s plot highlights. Filling in the gaps and explaining why the “Losers” are now apart is satisfying when you got so invested in their lives from the first movie. Unfortunately, this is the major issue with IT: Chapter 2: it tries to do too much.
With flashbacks, bringing the “Losers” together and then giving them each individual moments with Pennywise, there is just too much story. The individual moments are great and the ante has been upped since the first movie with some fantastic visual scares and cool, jump-out-your-seat moments, but these are then interspersed with attempts at character development which you just don’t care enough about, especially when it takes time away from Pennywise.
It also means that when the finale comes, you have lost the enthusiasm and excitement that you had when the group first collectively confronted the monster in Chapter 1. The conclusion works but you just wish they had managed to match the magic and scares of the first film.
Overall, It Chapter 2 captures the magic of Pennywise once again, with some fantastic visual moments and effective horror scares. However, too much story and attempts to give every character their moment over-crowds the film and detracts from the best aspect: the killer clown.
Rating – 3.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)
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